The horrors of an avalanche (and the beauty of really amazing online journalism)


21 Responses to “The horrors of an avalanche (and the beauty of really amazing online journalism)”

  1. taj1f says:

    Read this over the weekend. Time well spent exploring ways to effectively present engaging content. However, using this “deep” methodology for this particular story seemed to border on the obsessive. The moral could’ve just as well been communicated in a single tweet: “Attention adrenaline junkies: don’t want to die in an avalanche? Don’t ski dangerous slopes.” Furthermore, I’m not entirely convinced this wasn’t paid-for in-part by the company which provided the “snow wings” survival gear.

    • Xof says:

      The NYT’s walls between editorial and advertising are some of the strongest you will find anywhere; I’m quite confident no such quid-pro-quo existed.

      And, yes, you could distill it down to that, in the same way Henry V can be distilled down to: “Wow, being a monarch is a lot of work.”

      • Terry Carroll says:

         You’ll have to get back to us in 400 years with that Shakespeare comparison.

        • Xof says:

          I’ve made a note.

          Really, though, what was compelling about it for me was the story, not just the moral. I don’t do back-country skiing, so the moral is lost on me. :)

    • silkox says:

       It reads like something that will appear as a book sometime soon, the way Into the Wild and Into Thin Air were adapted from magazine articles.

  2. sota767 says:

    That was cool. Like a TV documentary you can read at your own pace.

  3. xzzy says:

    Is it flashed based or run afoul of ad blocking?  Because I just get a blank white page. Unless of course that’s the joke, the entire story is that I’m already buried by an avalanche. 

    (I’m all for exploring new ways of delivering information, but perhaps they should have done some compatibility testing or at least tossed up an error message if I’m missing requirements)

    • Xof says:

      It’s not flash based. It does use some external assets that ad blockers can get in the way of (I had to turn on a couple of things in Ghostery).

      I’m 100% pro compatibility testing, but the NYT really can’t check every possible combination of plug-in blocker ever.

      • LinkMan says:

        the NYT really can’t check every possible combination of plug-in blocker ever

        Does anybody actually expect NYT to make sure their content is compatible with plugins specifically designed to strip out the ads that pay for the content?

        • Xof says:

          Ironically, it runs just fine with the ad delivery plugins blocked; for me, at least, it was all false-positives I had to enable.

    • fireshadow says:

      For me I could read the first part of the article (Tunnel Creek) but could not see any links indicating other parts.   I allowed in NoScript and saw absolutely nothing.  I allowed and now it appears that I see everything properly (videos, links, etc).

  4. wangston says:

    I found it to be pretty annoying and contrived – similar to the feeling of being force fed bullet points in a power point presentation. It’s a lot of text as it is. To be halted at intervals to wait for some multimedia thing to load and then sit through is like a video game with interstitials that ruin the flow.

    The video and interactive pieces were all great, but it would be much better to give the reader a better set of options to view them now/later/never rather than force the reader to follow along at a given, slow, speed.

    • SomeGuyNamedMark says:

      I found it hard to read.  I’d be following text then all of a sudden it would stop and a large image would snap into place then it would weirdly scroll off the screen.  The use of fading in and out of images depending on where they were on the screen seemed like an unnecessary gimmick that distracted me.  There were also all sorts of sudden breaks for ads that made following the text frustrating.

  5. monkeygirl says:

    For another view of the same avalanche, read Megan Michelson’s first-person account in Outside Magazine She talks about why they might have continued with the run despite many having doubts as to its safety.

  6. Jim Saul says:

    That is beautifully designed. Shame some seem to be missing it due to incompatible technology or, perhaps, mindset. It’s quite amazing.

    Viewing source, it’s testing for 5 different flavors of IE to drop javascript (which it’s using to load the moving graphics as mp4). Perhaps that’s the issue.

    It works fine in Chrome for me.

  7. blindwanderer says:

    I have to agree, the mix of video and context sensitive graphics is superb. I want to know why more articles aren’t done this way. If the NY Times does more articles this way I might give them money.

  8. fireshadow says:

    I liked it but I found the animations distracting because they would start before I was done reading the text above.  I also wish that they clearly showed some boundary lines so I knew if I was watching the entire thing or needed to reposition the page.

  9. kmoser says:

    Not to be curmudgeonly but I see this as a gimmick. Text is easy to read. Video is easy to watch. There’s no need to force-feed it to us in some unholy PowerPoint-like mash-up of text and video. Sure, it’s pretty and all, but I liken it to experimental film: nice for exploring a medium, not so nice for expressing ideas clearly. If this is the future of the Gray Lady, give me a physical paper any day.

    • Marya says:

      But you aren’t force fed it. You have the choice to watch the extra bits or not. Or to watch them chronologically or not. Or to read the whole thing and then go back and watch the extra bits. I read it when it was published and approached it totally backwards. First I watched the 10-minute documentary. Then I read the article watching a couple of the animations. But by then I was so hooked that I re-read the article in its entirety and watched all of the mm bits.

  10. vonbobo says:

    I enjoyed the article and the presentation. Worked perfectly on chrome.

    I have been inspired by the article for a day now! It did feel like future-now to me. Looking forward to more of this type of presentation and it maturing- perhaps have dedicated areas in the window for text and other media, to add a bit of uniformity?

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