Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Newsonomics: On end games and end times
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Aug. 27, 2009, 9:24 a.m.

For the Boston Globe’s Kennedy series, video is dominant

It wasn’t quite the Red Sox winning the World Series, but The Boston Globe saw huge traffic yesterday as it covered the death of Ted Kennedy — a sign that local news sites can still dominate national stories on their turf.

The Globe, which had spent years preparing for Kennedy’s death, had more than 8 million page views as of 5 p.m. yesterday, when I spoke to Bennie DiNardo, deputy managing editor for multimedia. Part of the Globe’s coverage included a seven-part biographical series — with lengthy articles, videos, and other material — that first ran in February and was later published as a book. Recent disagreement over the appeal of long-form journalism on the web made me wonder: How were people consuming the Globe’s Kennedy series?

David Beard, editor of Boston.com, said the package received more than 2.5 million page views in February and likely led to a bump in time spent on the site that month. There was some “lingering traffic” after the series ran, in part because it ranks on the first page of a Google search for Ted Kennedy. Though he didn’t have numbers to share, DiNardo said, “What we saw online the first time it went through was that people were heavily consuming the video.” (Much of the text was removed from the package for several months as part of an agreement with the book publisher, Simon & Schuster, which didn’t want free competition. All of the content is back up now, even as another press run of the book is prepared.) Boston.com has been promoting the series on its front page since news of Kennedy’s death broke early yesterday morning.

There’s not enough evidence to make a sweeping conclusion, but some of the data suggests that video is the better entry point for long-form content. Certainly, the Globe designed its Kennedy package to give the videos more prominence than the articles. “This was the first time we tried to really produce documentary-quality video,” DiNardo told me. He said finding and making arrangements to use archival footage was particularly difficult: “It was just a whole world that us newspaper folks aren’t used to.”

Yesterday the Globe uploaded those and other videos to its YouTube channel, hoping to gain audience as people searched for Kennedy clips. That’s certainly the first thing I did yesterday after waking up to the sad news. Most of the Globe’s videos have just a few hundred views, but their investigation of Chappaquiddick, naturally, has already garnered more than 13,000. Searches for Chappaquiddick dominated Google yesterday.

POSTED     Aug. 27, 2009, 9:24 a.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Newsonomics: On end games and end times
Can publishers find a sustainable business model this new age of Facebook/Apple/Snapchat/Twitter/Google distributed content? And is local news destined to be left behind?
What Scribd’s growing pains mean for the future of digital content subscription models
It turns out that ebook subscription models don’t work very well when people read too much. So what happens next?
How research (and PowerPoints) became the backbone of National Journal’s membership program
“We no longer look at National Journal simply as a news source, but as a collection of resources, as well as a collection of experts we can turn to on occasion.”
What to read next
2843
tweets
A blow for mobile advertising: The next version of Safari will let users block ads on iPhones and iPads
Think making money on mobile advertising is hard now? Think how much more difficult it will be with a significant share of your audience is blocking all your ads — all with a simple download from the App Store.
1763For news organizations, this was the most important set of Apple announcements in years
A new Flipboard-clone with massive potential reach, R.I.P. Newsstand, and news stories embedded deeper inside iOS — it was a big day for news on iPhones and iPads.
762Newsonomics: 10 numbers that define the news business today
From video to social, from mobile to paywalls — these data points help define where we are in the “future of news” today, like it or not.
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Suck.com
Baristanet
Lens
McClatchy
The Tyee
Flipboard
Placeblogger
Grist
Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism
INDenverTimes
Fwix
Mother Jones