Tag Archive for 'nytimes'

Packer & Bilton, on Twitter

It’s been fun following the debate between the Times Bits blogger Nick Bilton, and New Yorker staff writer George Packer, on whether Twitter is a godsend, or a harbinger of doom.

Packer opened with a declaration that he’s old school:

I don’t have a BlackBerry, or an iPhone, or a Google phone, and I don’t intend to get an iPad. I’ve been careful not to mention this to sources in Washington, where conversation consists of two people occasionally glancing up from their BlackBerries and saying, ‘I’m listening.’

After pointing out recent news stories that Twitter had a hand in breaking—Iran, Haiti, Obama’s Election—Bilton fires back:

…when trains were a new technology 150 years ago, some journalists and intellectuals worried about the destruction that the railroads would bring to society…

I wonder if, 150 years ago, Mr. Packer would be riding the train at all, or if he would have stayed home, afraid to engage in an evolving society and demanding that the trains be stopped.

Ouch. One gets the sense that there is some kind of generational clash going on here. Packer tries again:

If a Luddite is someone who fears and hates all technological change, a Biltonite is someone who celebrates all technological change: because we can, we must.

George is asking the right questions, but it’s hard to disagree with Bilton’s point—by refusing to participate in social media, he’s missing part of the story… you can’t bury your head in the sand and expect to keep up.

The Times Wins 5 Pulitzer Prizes

NY Times newsroom, Pulitzer announcement
Photo by Soraya.

The New York Times, my employer, won 5 Pulitzer Prizes today, “for work on subjects as varied as America’s wars in Asia, the sudden downfall of a political titan, art from ancient to modern, and a history-making presidential campaign.”

The interesting one, from my point of view, is the award for breaking the Gov. Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal. No, not because it’s salacious or bawdy, but because the exclusive wasn’t held for the next morning’s paper – it was put up online, on NYTimes.com, in the middle of the day. I think that this will be an important milestone in the evolution of quality journalism.

The Nieman Lab points to a funny anecdote that ran in the NY Observer last year:

Back in the day — you know, five years ago — when a big news story had been written, edited, fact-checked, vetted, proofread, and anguished over one last time, an adrenaline-pumped editor would cry out, “Run it!” As in, the presses.

When The New York Times was ready to report that Eliot Spitzer, then governor of New York, had been implicated in a prostitution ring, managing editor Jill Abramson yelled 20 feet across the newsroom, “O.K., hit it!” As in, the button to publish the story on NYTimes.com.

I love that. Congrats to my colleagues in the news room, and let’s keep it up!

David Letterman Got Married

Wow: David Letterman got married!

The Times on Brooklyn Food, Frank Bruni on Buttermilk Channel

Today’s Times Dining section has some great coverage of Brooklyn food. First, there is a great article on food producers throughout the borough:

These Brooklynites, most in their 20s and 30s, are hand-making pickles, cheeses and chocolates the way others form bands and artists’ collectives. They have a sense of community and an appreciation for traditional methods and flavors. They also share an aesthetic that’s equal parts 19th and 21st century, with a taste for bold graphics, salvaged wood and, for the men, scruffy beards.

Make sure to check out the interactive map, too.

Also, Frank Bruni reviews one of my favorite new restaurants near our home in Brooklyn, Buttermilk Channel, along with an audio slideshow:

Buttermilk Channel [is] a restaurant of real standards, noteworthy ambition and uncommon slavishness to trends. It’s laudable and predictable in equal measures. And it was packed every time I went…

The look of the restaurant, whose corner location affords it pretty windows on two sides, is on the polished side of homey. There’s nicely buffed wood, a spidery brass lighting fixture and a honeyed glow from it and handsome sconces along the walls.

There’s also ample space between tables: the owner, Doug Crowell, isn’t trying just to jam in as many people as possible. But he does ask you to trade some comfort and convenience for the refreshingly low prices.

These few blocks on Court Street are starting to fill with interesting and tasty culinary operations: Buttermilk Channel, Frankie’s Spuntino, and the newly opened and not-yet-visited soon to open Prime Meats.

UPDATE: The Times posted a Q & A between readers and subjects of the Brooklynite food producers piece.

Michael Bierut on the Move from the “Drawing Board to the Desktop”

From Michael Bierut’s piece in the Times this weekend, Drawing Board to the Desktop: A Designer’s Path:

All of us assumed that these machines [computers] were just fancy hybrids of typewriters and calculators. We did all the artwork with rubber cement, colored paper and paint. We had no idea, but we were looking at the beginning of the end, and the end came quickly.

Michael is a partner at Pentagram, and blogs regularly at Design Observer.

The Weekender

This is a pretty good parody of the New York Times Weekender commercials, that play on basic cable stations throughout the Tri-State area and New England. Appearances by Paul Rudd, Eugene Mirman, and The State/Stella alumni Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain. It makes me want to go see some comedy at 92YTribeca.

Also, I must find something besides the Times to blog about.

[via NYMag]

U.S. Airways Jet Crashes Into Hudson River

US Airways Plane Crash & Rescue

My photo from the 21st floor of the New York Times Building, in midtown.

From City Room:

A USAirways plane that took off at 3:26 p.m. from La Guardia Airport landed in the Hudson River five minutes later, where it remains mostly submerged. Ferries and other boats converged to help with a rescue effort, as the plane drifted south. There was no immediate information about the 151 people on board.

According to Channel 4 television news, the plane, USAirways flight 1549, took off from LaGuardia Airport at 3:26 p.m. was bound for Charlotte, N.C. and had 146 passengers and 5 crew members. The plane, according to the news report, may have hit a flock of birds. The pilot tried to return to the airport when the plane fell into the Hudson.

US Airways Plane Crash & Rescue
Photo of the rescue, posted by Janis Krums on Twitter/Twitpic.

I watched from the 21st floor of the Times Building, as the plan drifted south with the tide. I believe that the rescue operation completed before it came into view, and it has since drifted out of view.

The plane did not break up on impact; divers, commuter ferries and a lot of emergency personnel are assisting with rescue operations. Everyone is reported to have survived the crash and rescue, as of this moment, but there are injuries. CNN is currently interviewing passengers, live on-air.

UPDATE: I don’t know how the Graphics team put this together so quickly and so elegantly, but NYTimes.com has an interactive piece today, that tracks the plane’s path.

Also, CNN has been running a Google Earth animation of the flight, which is less pretty, but kind of cool.

Design Loves a Depression

Vermelha Chair

This past weekend, The New York Times Week in Review argues in a story headlined Design Loves a Depression that the recent economic slowdown will force designers to eschew novelty and the impractical, and focus more on the “intelligent reworking of current conditions”:

Design tends to thrive in hard times. In the scarcity of the 1940s, Charles and Ray Eames produced furniture and other products of enduring appeal from cheap materials like plastic, resin and plywood, and Italian design flowered in the aftermath of World War II.

Will today’s designers rise to the occasion? “What designers do really well is work within constraints, work with what they have,” said Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art. “This might be the time when designers can really do their job, and do it in a humanistic spirit.”

Related: Designing Through the Recession, by designer Michael Bierut

UPDATE: Murray Moss takes the WIR to task in a piece today on Design Observer:

Design loves a depression? I can assure you that design, along with painting, sculpture, photography, music, dance, fashion, the culinary arts, architecture, and theatre, loves a depression no more than it loves a war, a flood, or a plague. Michael Cannell’s article is regressive and mean-spirited, and it demands a response.

…quite a provoking discussion.

Image courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Saving Buffalo’s Untold Beauty

Downtown Buffalo

Photo Credit: Tony Cenicola/The New York TimesA photo of downtown Buffalo.

The Times had a great piece yesterday on Buffalo’s architectural legacy, and recent attempts to save historic buildings:

Buffalo is home to some of the greatest American architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with major architects like Henry Hobson Richardson, Frederick Law Olmsted, Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright building marvels here. Together they shaped one of the grandest early visions of the democratic American city.

Yet Buffalo is more commonly identified with the crumbling infrastructure, abandoned homes and dwindling jobs that have defined the Rust Belt for the past 50 years. And for decades its architecture has seemed strangely frozen in time.

There is also an accompanying slide show, from which the photo above was taken.

Full disclosure: I’m originally from Buffalo.

Grant Park – Alex Wright

My colleague at NYTimes.com, Alex Wright, happened to be in Chicago last night, so he made his way to the Grant Park celebration. I’m sure that will be a moment to remember for some time.

Who Said Print is Dead?

OBAMA
Today’s edition of the New York Times.

I count myself lucky today, for scoring a copy of the paper before they ran out. Apparently, the situation is the same throughout the city, (though I’ve heard rumors of another 50,000 copy run).

In fact, there are a hundred or so people standing on line outside the Times headquarters, waiting for a fresh delivery of news, printed on dead trees.

Print Isn’t Dead

A hundred or so people, waiting on line for today’s paper, in front of the Times headquarters in midtown.

From Gawker:

Everybody wants a souvenir of Obama’s victory, and you know what makes a great souvenir? That’s right, a newspaper. This is a photo of a line outside the NYT building on 40th Street of people waiting—for a newspaper!

I hope that people still come to the Times for more than just a souvenir.

New York Times Anthrax Scare

Who?

Equipment and officials from some government agency that I’ve never heard of, in the lobby of the New York Times Building in midtown.

The lobby of The New York Times Building, where I work, was closed this past Wednesday, after an employee on the 13th floor opened an envelope that contained a powdery substance. (The 13th floor is where the editorial board and some columnists have offices.)

It turned out to be a hoax, but for several hours the building was in near lock-down mode. Unfortunately, I decided to disregard warnings and went out to meet Lisa for lunch. When I returned, I was locked out for almost an hour, as the police had roped off the building’s entrances. Peering through the windows on the 8th Avenue side of the building, I saw a huge curtain stretched across one of the elevator banks. Some firemen went in with a stretcher, and the broadcast news media started converging on the street. (Apologies to the very friendly NY1 camerawoman, for refusing to talk to her on camera.)

All I could do was to take some photos, and wait to be let in. After about an hour, I received word from a colleague inside that they were letting employees back in through the freight elevators in the loading dock down 40th st. That was about all the fun I could handle for one day… back to work.

More Photos below the jump.

Continue reading ‘New York Times Anthrax Scare’

How Hackers Show it’s Not All Bad News at the New York Times

Apologies that this blog looks a little New York Times-y lately, but I had to share this – O’Reilly’s Andrew Savikas wrote a very interesting post on some of the interesting stuff we’re doing:

…there‘s something going on at the Times that probably won‘t make it to Silicon Alley Insider, much less the mainstream business press, and it‘s something that‘s starting to make me think the Times just might succeed in adapting to the changing rules of the media and publishing game…

So what’s the Times doing that’s so important? They’re hacking.

Savikas goes on to list a lot of examples, but the best one that I can provide is the coming release of our APIs, which will enable people on the outside to play, tinker, and mashup NY Times content. There are only a few APIs currently public, but there will be a flood of releases in the coming months.

[via Jeremy]

UPDATE: Oh man, a bit after I published this today, we launched our Visualization Lab – a partnership that uses IBM’s Many Eyes technology. More Info Here »

This Election’s Poster Child

Design critic Steven Heller looks at poster design this presidential election cycle, and the unprecedented outpouring of support for Senator Barack Obama:

So, do these posters have any impact on voters? Not the specific images or messages but cumulatively they are a grassroots effort that excite through the show of collective support. What’s more, posters often appeal to personal needs and emotions, not all rouse in the same way for everyone. Having many options allows partisans to engage as they choose. This show of support goes in the plus column for Barack Obama.

Take a walk down Smith Street in Brooklyn, and you’ll see Shepard Fairey’s poster in many shop windows – it’s almost comic… not just street art any more.

Christoph Niemann’s Abstract City

One of my favorite blogs on NYTimes.com is written by the German illustrator Christoph Niemann, called Abstract City. He only posts once a month or so, but each one is as unique and interesting as the last.

And, it is amusing that his blog – of all NYTimes.com blogs – doesn’t have an illustrated icon in the header. It’s not intentional on our part, he just hasn’t gotten to it yet.

See More of Christoph Niemann’s work »

Ready for David Pogue

Shadows
Me, standing in, as lighting is set for a David Pogue shoot.

Today, myself and a few colleagues helped Zach Wise set up and shoot some green screen video of New York Times Technology Columnist and near-Broadway performer David Pogue. The video will be integrated into a multimedia piece that Zach and I are working on, which should be done before Thanksgiving.

This is the first real video shoot that I’ve worked on, (having in the past done a lot of voice-over work with sound engineers). What’s scary is that we did this largely by ourselves – Zach found a studio at the nearby CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, we hung the green fabric, and we set up the lighting with a little help from their engineer.

David Pogue came in a short while later, I grabbed a boom mic, and we were off to the races. It was a lot of fun, and Pogue nailed the takes – I have no idea how he did it without a teleprompter, but he had us all laughing several times. And he was very patient and friendly throughout the shoot, even when we had to embarrassingly scramble back to the office for more P2 cards.

So, that was the hard part – now we have to design and build this thing.

The Measure of a President

The Times has an interesting (if not completely pointless) infographic on presidential height and weight, in recent history. I like that the silhouettes are all mostly recognizable – Jimmy Carter’s smile, Harry Truman’s spectacles and William Howard Taft’s belly… funny.

It was done by Scott Stowell’s design studio, Open N.Y., the people who design GOOD Magazine.

MSM Ahead of Curve on V.P. Debate

Did you know that NYTimes.com streamed live video of last night’s debate, right on the top of its home page? There was a full-screen option, too. Pretty cool stuff – even Gawker was impressed.

Also, check out our V.P. Debatinator – a mashup of video, transcript, and timeline from the debate.

Economix & Green Inc. Blog Headers

The Times is in the process of beefing up its business coverage online, adding new verticals on the economy and green energy. As part of that roll out, we launched two blogs last week, and I was tasked with the header designs and illustration assignments.

I really enjoy the little bits of art direction that I get to do at the Times. It’s fun to search for the illustrators, work with them on concepts and sketches, and in the end they do all of the work.

Economix

Economix Blog header
Illustration by Headcase Design

Economix is written by David Leonhardt and Catherine Rampell, and will focus on both the global economy and the personal decisions readers make everyday.

The illustration was done by Paul Kepple’s team at Headcase Design, with art direction and design by myself.

Continue reading ‘Economix & Green Inc. Blog Headers’

nytimes.com Outage

Graham

Reaction from Twitter user Graham Mudd, on the nytimes.com outage this afternoon.

Nytimes.com has been down for about an hour, and thankfully it wasn’t my turn to watch it. I haven’t heard of any explanation yet, but it could be anything from problems with DNS or our CDN. Who knows? I’m just a designer here.

It seems like just yesterday, when everyone was complaining about recent downtime troubles at Twitter and Amazon, including us.

Adrienne
Despite Adrienne Shaffer’s tweet, we’re housebroken, I swear!

Hopefully this is just a temporary blip. But, I had a good time reading people’s tweets.

6:27 pm UPDATE: The site is mostly up, but some functionality is not working, such as Search.

“The Fold”

Chris Fahey on “the fold”:

In fact, we should start thinking of “the fold” as something other than a hard line with an “above” and “below” portion, and we should stop thinking of the vertical positioning on a page as equivalent to priority. Scrolling up and down through a web page is a fundamental aspect of the web user experience, and there is much more to it than simply seeing what’s on top and then gradually seeing everything else (emphasis added).

I have no doubt that this is increasingly true, but wonder why ads are consistently placed “above the fold”. Is this just a remnant of this older thinking, or do they perform significantly better there?

A 3rd Climber

Peel

Workmen remove a flyer left behind by David Malone, who climbed the New York Times Building several hours before.

For the third time in five weeks, someone has scaled the outside of The New York Times Headquarters. This time, however, it was over and done before most of us got out of bed:

Unlike the two previous climbers, this one — identified later as David Malone, a 29-year-old activist from West Hartford, Conn., who studies Al Qaeda — did not attempt to make his way to the roof. Instead, he unfurled a banner around the fifth floor of the 52-story building, before climbing a few more stories.

Continue reading ‘A 3rd Climber’

The Big Picture

NYTimes.com isn’t the only NYT property that’s doing interesting things with blogs these days – Boston.com launched a different kind of photo blog earlier this month, The Big Picture. With its oversized photos, minimal ads, and hardly a promo to other site content, the presentation is clear and striking – and praise is pouring in.

California Fires

Firefighters work to contain the Humboldt fire which started Wednesday, had grown to 19,000 acres and threatened more than 5,000 structures. (AP Photo/Jason Halley – Chico Enterprise-Record)

Another interesting facet about the blog is that it not written by a Globe photographer or photo editor, but by one of their website developers. Andy Baio posted a great interview with the blog’s creator and author, Alan Taylor, where he discusses his inspiration, methodology, and what it’s like being a web developer working in a journalist’s world. When asked why more newspaper sites haven’t done this before, he replied:

“Even some of my favorite photo sites are often limited to ‘Photo of the Day’ or ‘24 Hours in Pictures’ features. That’s interesting, and you can find some mind-blowing images there, but I always felt like it lacked context, depth, story.”

Iowa Floods

Brandon Smith carries his two cats, Fry and Bender, to dry land from their flooded and evacuated home on June 12, 2008 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Photo by David Greedy/Getty Images)

As we move to an age where motion graphics and video regularly enhance our traditional news presentation, it’s interesting to take a step back and consider the power still photography has to tell a story. And working online without the space constraint of print, news organizations have an opportunity to bring more depth and context to readers, through excellent photojournalism.

Infographics

I completed a three-day intensive newsroom orientation last week, in which the new faces at the Times are trained on policies, practices, and quirks of the paper. It’s an onboarding procedure the likes of which I’ve never gone through in my career, and I think it’s a credit to the organization that they care so much about its traditions and culture to invest so much time and energy welcoming new people.

In addition to the seminars on sourcing, ethics and background, it was especially interesting to meet all of the Desk Editors and learn how they run their teams both online and in print. One-by-one, they filed in from National, Style, Travel, Foreign, the Magazines… it was a whirlwind 3 days.

infographic
Deadly Rampage at Virginia Tech, updated April 23, 2007

One of the most interesting half-hours was presented by Archie Tse, a Graphics editor. Archie explained how the Times Graphics Desk is really unique among news organizations, in that they go out and do reporting before sitting down at their computer.

When you consider that newspapers are cutting back on coverage of everything these days, this is remarkable.

Continue reading ‘Infographics’

Alain Robert, climbing the New York Times Building

Never a dull moment here at the Times… Today, we witnessed Alain Robert climb the New York Times Building on 8th Avenue facing 41st street. I took this with my iPhone on the 21st floor:

Alain Robert

He scaled up the ceramic rods that are affixed to the outside of the building, attracting hundreds of onlookers inside the building, as well as down the street.

City Room has more about Alain and this stunt, including the news that he was arrested by NYPD after reaching the roof – 52 floors up from the street.

Continue reading ‘Alain Robert, climbing the New York Times Building’