The New News

By | February 20, 2006

Another very cool kind of newsmap (via the excellent and addictive information aesthetics). This one, reverbiage, uses the NPR feed to generate a map over which a fast moving zoom moves to the places where stories are breaking:


There’s also another neat way of viewing stories — select a topic, or tag, from a list on the left and a scrollable timeline appears, each blob representing a story. Not only a great way to see the latest story on a particular subject, but also the extent of coverage of that issue. In this case, it’s the hapless Dick Cheney:


I love this kind of thing, because it is not only visually exciting, but it introduces new dimensions for perceiving and receiving news. A map gives the geographical context as well as perspective — it’s not just about the U.S., stupid! — as well as spread, particularly on issues like the cartoons, or bird ‘flu. The timeline, meanwhile, gives a sense of how big the issue is, how heavily it’s being covered, and where, in the arc of the story’s history, the stories you’re looking at are appearing. Not only that: You can quickly figure out the history itself, and bring yourself up to speed without trawling through new stories hoping for background.

Two points. All these approaches are miles better than the last raft of such inventions from 1999. I’d love to see this kind of thing being adopted by the major news organisations.

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