Snow Fall: Finally an articulation for the digerati of what a big, expensive newsroom can do

Yes, the NYT multimedia “Snow Fall” was wonderful, and my new media colleagues are excited by it. But it took 11 staff members 6 months to publish. Is this really what new media journalists should emulate? How can I scale this down to the classroom?

The future of journalism is about speed, volume, rough and tumble and– like the tech world– “good enough” iteration. Even blogs like ours that produce comparatively less, with editing and illustration and reporting still move at a rapid pace compared to the old media world. Every story we do could have been made better with a huge old media machine behind it. But typically that improvement would be marginal, and most readers wouldn’t notice or care. That’s why blogs work. Readers would rather have the information clearly and quickly, than read the fruits of seven editors arguing over a nut graph.

But that is in no way what this is. More than 11 staffers worked on this piece and it took more than six months. When we talk about the New York Times and the Washington Post having newsrooms of hundreds and hundreds of people, it’s usually in the context of it being an albatross. But this is what you can produce when you do. And yeah, maybe we’re all paying attention because it was the New York Times that did it. But that brand, reach and distribution is part of the power of an expensive legacy newsroom as well. —Snow Fall: Finally an articulation for the digerati of what a big, expensive newsroom can do.