September 17, 2019

‘Oversharing’ on Google Calendar, and Making Sure Readers Come Back for More

What has been transformative is not just the tech — audio/podcast versus articles — but the whole approach of combining the story itself and the story behind the story into one irresistible thing. It’s barely two years old, but I can hardly imagine a Times (or even a world?) without it.

All new storytelling forms excite me. Data visualizations like this piece about race and income-mobility are mind-blowing in their ability to explain complicated topics. What we call tap-throughs, which generally combine video, stills and text in an immersive way, add multiple dimensions to our reporting and reporters and are unforgettable. Here’s one I loved on the border of China and North Korea.

In that same vein, Our Open Source forensic-video investigations are groundbreaking — a piece on the Gaza fence protests was so much more powerful than anything I wrote (or read) about the two wars with Israel that I covered there.

And some of this doesn’t depend at all on tech. I’m a big fan of the “What we know and don’t know” form, which we deploy at big news moments to help readers catch up and cut through to get the essentials before diving into some of the deeper stories. These are just words arranged in a way that’s different from a traditional news story, plus a few bullets. Hey, this Q. and A. is a new story form, too!

Outside of work, what tech product are you obsessed with?

I’ll tell you the tech product I’m obsessed with not having: a search feature that scans all the streaming services on my Apple TV to quickly find where the show I want lives or what my options for watching a particular movie are. There should be an app for that!

I’m entirely dependent on Waze and Google maps. My 11-year-old daughter recently mused that she hopes that someday soon, everybody will somehow have these programmed into the brain and know how to get everywhere. I tried to explain to her that when I was growing up, you had to call and ask for directions, and that a lot of people — including my mom — mostly would drive only to places that they were confident they knew how to get to, and how small that made the world.

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