Nieman Foundation at Harvard
America’s Test Kitchen, “the Consumer Reports of cooking,” wants to grow to new platforms
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, 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.) 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.
Show comments  
Show tags
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
America’s Test Kitchen, “the Consumer Reports of cooking,” wants to grow to new platforms
“We’d like to move to other platforms, particularly as we see the changes in how people consume television.”
A program from Poynter and ONA is helping foster a community of female leaders in digital media
The Women’s Leadership Academy provides camaraderie and concrete advice beyond a bundle of platitudes.
Come talk ad blockers with Nieman Lab and a set of experts in New York
We’re having our first event in New York City with industry leaders: Wednesday, December 2 at 6 p.m.
What to read next
How one blog helped spark The New York Times’ digital evolution
“I certainly had editors tell me that I shouldn’t be wasting my time on Bird Week. But that was the best part of City Room…We were like unsupervised children.”
572News outlets left and right (and up, down, and center) are embracing virtual reality technology
Among those experimenting is The Wall Street Journal, which plans to open source its 360-degree mobile video and VR technology and hopes to turn VR into more of a mainstay of its storytelling.
502Podcasting in 2015 feels a lot like blogging circa 2004: exciting, evolving, and trouble for incumbents
The same trends we saw a decade ago — professionalization on one hand, platformization on the other — sure seem to be playing out again.
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
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 ➚
The Dish
The Seattle Times
GateHouse Media
National Review
Ars Technica
Honolulu Civil Beat
St. Louis Beacon