Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Infographics, live Internet radio and TV: the new gadgets, projects and play things may point the way

Sometimes I get serious blowback concerning my obvious distain for replica editions. I try not to be dogmatic about it, understanding that sometimes a replica may be the way to go.

The problem, though, is that the replica should be exception to the rule, not the rule. The reason is simply that digital media is evolving quickly and to think of digital platforms as only ways to extend the reach of print is to miss the forest for the trees.

New Media is more than simply another series of platforms. Publishers should understand that the new platforms are opening up new ways to tell stories, new product possibilities, new ways to communicate, to advertise – and ultimately, to make profits. Few publishers are pursuing all these possibilites (most are missing the profit part, of course). But many are doing outstanding work.

Even the work that is less than stellar can be interesting. I find, for instance, the WSJ's efforts at live broadcasting pretty laughable. But I still applaud the effort. The Boston Globe's move into Internet radio may have originated in a very unique opportunity, but it is still great to see.

This infographic from The Guardian and Real Clear Politics, with its own URL is a wonderful example of the trend towards new ways to convey sometimes complicated information. The infographic, which can also be seen below in the video, is just another way to chart out information. But by communicating the information in an interactive graphic, the message becomes both informative and fun.

When thinking about The Guardian's tablet edition, the inclusion and emphasis on features such as this is what should have guided the creators of the paper's iPad edition – not a new way to present the old information. The app that has resulted, the app that is now called The Guardian and Observer iPad edition, can certainly evolve into something new and exciting. A replica edition, though, can not.