Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Show Me The Next strips down online reading and discovery to their most basic components
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
June 18, 2014, 12:29 p.m.
Reporting & Production
LINK: graphics.wsj.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   June 18, 2014

The Wall Street Journal ran a review of a 3D printer, the MakerBot Replicator Mini, yesterday. Nothing too unusual there, at least for 2014. But the paper went a few steps beyond the norm in presenting it.

First, it made a two-minute explainer video. De rigueur at this point.

Then it used a 3D modeler to create a three-dimensional bar chart showing the growth in 3D printer sales:

wsj-3d-printer

…and turned that into a set of actual physical objects with the 3D printer:

…and uploaded the model of the 3D chart to MakerBot’s Thingiverse, so others with 3D printers could download and make their own version of the physical object:

wsj-3d-printer-model

and used the app Augment to embed an augmented-reality version of the bar chart in the print newspaper, viewable as if it were in real space through your smartphone:

(I tested it out on my iPhone — crashed the app a couple times, and took a looooong time to find the image, but it did work.)

wsj-3d-printer-augmented-reality

It’s hard to file all this in any category other than “gimmick” at this point. And for all the labor that went into it, I’m sure a data-visualization critic would tell you that a simple 2D bar chart — or a half-dozen other formats — would communicate the chart’s actual information better than a News Corp Princess Leia. Still, it’s always good to see a traditional media company trying out new ways of optimizing the presentation of a story and of reaching out to new audiences.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Show Me The Next strips down online reading and discovery to their most basic components
“I think there is room for niche, monkish austerity.”
From Nieman Reports: Why news outlets are watching India’s next billion Internet users
“I can think of a billion reasons why it’s in the interests of news outlets to overcome barriers of language, literacy, and relatively low-end tech.”
Newsonomics: 10 headlines we may see this fall about the future of news
From pipes to platforms, overseas to over-the-top, the shifts we’ll see in the remainder of 2015 will set the stage for 2016 and beyond.
What to read next
2577
tweets
The New York Times built a Slack bot to help decide which stories to post to social media
The bot, named Blossom, helps predict how stories will do on social and also suggests which stories editors should promote.
1310Jo Ellen Green Kaiser: Do independent news outlets have a blind spot when it comes to ethnic media?
The head of the Media Consortium argues that, by defining themselves in opposition to mainstream media, independent progressive outlets miss out on the power of ethnic and community journalism.
1029Newsonomics: 10 numbers on The New York Times’ 1 million digital-subscriber milestone
Digital subscribers are proving to be the bedrock of the Times’ business model going forward. How much more room is there for growth — and at what price points?
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 ➚
Google
Houston Chronicle
Ars Technica
Foursquare
Apple
Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism
AOL
Lens
Tampa Bay Times
Groupon
Center for Public Integrity
Conde Nast