This is WAY more than your average homicide map. Whoever put this together (I’m working on finding out who to credit) went to great deal of effort to tell what I’ll call the most important story in Oakland using multimedia, interactivity, and data.
- An artistic Flash intro that hooks into my emotions.
- A map that gives me real information when I click on a number, sometimes even popping up a multimedia element, like an audio interview with the family of a murder victim.
- Video that appears to have been contributed by community groups — proving that you don’t need a squadron of shooters if what you’re doing matters to the people in your community — these projects exist — you can spend your resources on building relationships and partner with your readers to get their message out.
- Plenty of places for readers to talk back: I see spots to submit events for a mapped calendar, submit stories of their own, and (!!!) a blog just for this story, where readers can share their personal stories in comment threads.
Questions (for now and later):
- How was this promoted in print?
- What’s the traffic on this going to be like vs. the participation? What could be done to make it even easier for readers to participate?
- Are the people who this story matters the most to going to participate and offer feedback on their own, or do third-party community groups carry the weight?
- How long did all this take to develop?
- How will this be promoted online, for how long, how prominently?
- Will the map be updated with 2007 numbers as the stories happen, or will readers have to wait until 2008 to see the totals?
- Who at the Tribune is going to do the daily work of maintenance and moderation on the interactive pieces of the project?
*(Disclaimer: My paycheck is stamped with the same automatic signature the folks at the Tribune find on theirs.)