“We’ve transformed the manner in which we deliver the news without ever veering from the high journalistic standards that are firmly in place,” said Arthur Sulzberger, chairman of the New York Times, in a talk at Polis LSE. “In a world where information and opinions are ubiquitous, our promise of quality is more important than ever.”
In 2011, a research company called Netprospex ranked The New York Times as the most social company in the United States, based on the number of employees who were on various social networks and the number of followers those accounts had.
While 2011 may seem like it was the blink of an eye ago, much has changed in that time. With each passing year, month and week, digital journalism is evolving, but The Times has still managed to keep its position at the forefront of innovation in multimedia journalism.
Approximately one year ago, The Times passed one million digital-only subscribers, which is a remarkable achievement given that they asked readers to pay for unlimited access to their digital platforms. Since The Times first started offering digital subscriptions in 2011, it has pushed to provide unique photographs, videos, audio recordings and interactive feature stories to its subscribers. These content range from a quiz to show which U.S. cities speak the same way as you do, to a series explaining how the nation’s wealthiest citizens and corporations avoid taxes, to an interactive list of 52 places to go with assistance from readers who offered recommendations for each destination.
Aside from simply (or not so simply) providing its readers with innovative stories told on unique platforms, The Times has been reaching out and engaging readers using tactics like Twitter and blogging. In fact, in the talks that Sulzberger gave at Polis LSE, he mentioned that The New York Times tweets a news story every four seconds, providing countless opportunities for its followers to retweet and share stories while also being able to promote conversation about those stories. Not only does this allow stories to reach a greater scope of people, but it also allows people to have their voices heard and provide real-time feedback to the folks at The Times. The New York Times has a main Twitter account, a travel Twitter account, an arts Twitter account, a food Twitter account, a video account, a metro account, a wedding announcement account, and more! And on top of all of that, its reporters are encouraged and expected to have a strong social media presence, promoting their own stories and hyping up The Times while doing so. The Times’ Twitter presence is so ubiquitous that it is nearly impossible to avoid coming across something from any one of their accounts in the Twitter-sphere.
Two Times reporters at the forefront of multimedia journalism are Emma Cott and Samantha Stark, who work as video journalists. Recently, Cott has expanded The Times’ digital presence by bringing documentaries into the mix. Cott’s famous documentary, which is rated on Imdb, is called “Take Care, Mr. Elson,” and it presents the story of one man’s hard path to health insurance in the age of the Affordable Health Care Act. Samantha Stark produces shorter videos on a wide variety of topics, particularly about animals. Recently, she created a video showing why parrots are more than just birds based on a compilation of footage sent in by Times subscribers. Together, the two of them constitute a dynamic duo, propelling digital journalism into unforeseen territory and inspiring the rest of the world to watch. I look forward to hopefully meeting them one day to learn what it’s like to be on the cutting edge of multimedia journalism!