Online media outlets allow for interactive investigative reporting

Newspapers are out, and online media sources are in. It’s not that it’s new news–the sharp, drastic decline of traditional “legacy” outlets has been going on for a long time, and one of the reasons is what the internet can bring to a story that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

While looking at Frontline’s “Money and March Madness” package on their online site, it becomes immediately evident what the internet allows news to become–interactive and easy to navigate. The first thing that pops up on the page is a video, which is clearly impossible to include in print publications. In addition, there’s a “chat” option for readers to talk with the journalists that wrote the story, and social media buttons on the right handlebar for people to share what they just read. If readers really want to delve into the details, they can read full transcripts of the interviews, view graphics for the “big bucks” bracket, and even take a look at the lawsuit being filed. If this was in print form, it would literally have to be the size of an encyclopedia in order to fit everything in it.

A screenshot from the New York Times' interactive web page

A screenshot from the New York Times’ interactive web page

A similar project I found was titled “Death and disarray at America’s racetracks,” which was put together by the New York Times. The page isn’t pretty–it’s filled with images of dead horses and mangled humans, but it does what it’s supposed to do–it makes the reader want to dive deeper into the content. And they can, because the page is chock full of interactive content, videos, photo slideshows, a series of different reported stories, and infographics to put a face on the reported statistics. Every angle of the story is covered, from the history of horse racing, to drug issues, where the incidents are happening, personal stories, and even what’s next for the future of horse racing–and it’s all right in front of the reader on one page.

Both interactive websites are the perfect combination of thoroughly reported stories and user-friendly platforms, which makes it possible for news organizations to tell stories in unique ways they wouldn’t be able to with “legacy” outlets. Continue rocking, cyberspace.


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