The final track

As this news track blog was for a class assignment and not just because I enjoy tearing down the online division of a major national newspaper,  this will be my last post.

When the WashingtonPost.com decides it wants to do something well, it does it really well.  But over the course of the entire semester, I only saw two pieces that really caught my eye as far as excellence:

The coverage of Japan’s nuclear disaster was quite good.  Not superb, but at the very least, all the bases were covered.  There was video, there were animations, there were slideshows.  The Post’s online team seemed to understand the concept of real multimedia style news.

The Post’s coverage of the East Coast Rapist, on the other hand, was simply amazing. I still get excited for them when I look at this multimedia piece.

Seriously though, THIS MULTIMEDIA PIECE HAS EVERYTHING!

It even lets the reader feel like they’re in an episode of CSI.  Is that our job as journalists?  Honestly? I don’t know.   But either way, it’ certainly going to make people search for the news you’re providing.

The one problem with the East Coast Rapist multimedia?  It showed me what you’re capable of, WashingtonPost.com.  This was a wonderful piece of online journalism and yet 99 percent of the time you’re making your readers suffer through with nothing at all, save for the occasional photo gallery.

Step up your game, Washington Post, you could be great.

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Local news for a non-local event

It would have been remiss of the Post not to cover the Boston Marathon.  It is one of the biggest marathons in the world (not to mention in my town).

Obviously, the Post didn’t cover it like Boston.com did.  In fact, there are only 4 stories relating to this year’s marathon.

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NEWS BREAK: Kids are cute

WOW?! REALLY?!

Regardless, we all know it, they are.  Especially this kid, dressed as President Lincoln.

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Day in Photos

Okay, so this feature is seriously cool… at least I think so.

The Post has a “this day in pictures” feature.

These are all the pictures from March 31st.  They pretty much document everything that has happened that day with a series of photojournalism pictures.

 

The only real complaint I have about this is that the headline and “subheadline” stay static.  That makes pictures like this one momentarily confusing.

(Since I’m pretty sure this antelope has nothing to do with a New Orleans’ officer’s sentencing OR classic cars.)

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Covering Japan

The Post is using some good multimedia/animation –Japanimation? — to cover the story in Japan.

On March 11, the earthquake caused Tsunami struck Japan’s Oshika Peninsula, causing widespread devastation and flooding.  Also, there is the whole situation with the reactors.  I’ve gotten a bit sick of hearing it compared to Chernobyl/Three Mile Island, only because it’s its own disaster.  Tell us what the damage actually is instead of just comparing the devastation to another incident.

The Post has this really good animation explaining step-by-step the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant unfolded.

Image Credit: WashingtonPost.com

It’s actually a very well done, easily followable little video.  I’m quite impressed.

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Straight to the Point, Straight to the Crisis

You’ve heard me complain about the set-up of WashingtonPost.com a number of times.

Even my last post covered the subject.  It’s usually a barrage of images, links, and headlines and the user ends up so saturated with information that they don’t know where to look.

But Hallelujah, Washington Post, that is NOT the problem today.

There is no way for the reader to miss the major headline (Libya, obviously).  The visual set-up is just eons better than it was.

Image From: WashingtonPost.com

Perfect.  To the point.  A good solid lead to their website.  Keep it, please!

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Headline Oops?

So, the Post‘s homepage has a photo slideshow in the lefthand corner with all the main stories…  This usually works out fairly well.  The main headline on the page stays the same, but the picture changes… unfortunately, that means that every once in awhile you get something like this:

Oops!  Regardless of what this screenshot leads you to believe at first glace, Orioles’ starting pitcher Brian Matusz does NOT have any connection to the Guantanamo trials.

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The East Coast Rapist

Finally, the post does multimedia news right.

The East Coast Rapist case was the perfect storm of opportunity for multimedia news coverage, and the post did it all.  At first, I was a bit disappointed, the only thing I could find was the AP video talking about the capture of Aaron Thomas, the alleged “East Coast Rapist.”  Soon, however, I discovered this amazing interface:

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Meet the PostPoints?

YES, the PostPoints!  I know what you’re thinking, “SOUNDS EXCITING!” right? I mean, who doesn’t love points?!  Points are great! You can add them up! You can turn them in!  They’re awesome!

So what’s my complaint?  Well, simple really… I’m still not entirely sure what the PostPoints are.  It seems like you can use them in conjunction with local area businesses who subscribe to the PostPoints program to get discounted meals, tickets, etc.  I know that the somewhat creepily anthropomorphized dots are telling me that I can trade them in for electronics, and that I can earn points easily and excitingly!

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And the winner is…

Sunday night, a section of the population from preteens to grandmothers held their collective breaths as they waited to see whether or not their favorite performer was going to be awarded one of this year’s illustrious Grammys.

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