Blog 2: Ed Tech in Print vs. Online

Because The New York Times failed to differ the online article in any way beyond changing the headline and adding in one extra component (a non-interactive chart), it hurts me to say, but it is necessary that I give the NYT a C- in not quite reaching (or passing) its aims set out in the Innovation Report. Here’s the disappointing thing and a brief overview as to why it deserves a C-, except for the difference in headline and an additional chart that noted various educational start-ups and their investments, nothing differed between the online and print version of this article. For starters, both used that same image of the man writing on the board and the publication date (January 18, 2015) is the same in the print article as it is online.

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Photo of online version of NYT article courtesy of nytimes.com

 

The print version’s headline reads “Ed Tech Funding Favors Career Skills Training”and the online version’s headline reads “Education Technology Graduates from the Classroom to the Boardroom.” While the online title seems to be a bit more clever than the straight forward print version, beyond the slight variation in the title of each, the overall content of the pieces are identical. It’s literally just a word for word copying of the print version of this article, posted online and using the exact same, solo photo. The fact that NYT didn’t use the affordances online provides, in order to further engage with the reader beyond what print allows, isn’t great. The report laid out various ways the online facet of the publication could use the web to their advantage, but unfortunately I did not see the NYT exploit any of these tactics to further enhance the online reader experience.

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Photo of educational start-ups that received the most funding courtesy of nytimes.com

^^^The only redeeming thing about the difference in the online article is the addition of the graph, which shows educational startups that received the most funding. Beyond this online addition, the print version was the exact same, and the online report wasn’t exploiting the affordances the internet allows, but rather adding an extra component (this chart) into the article that could have just as easily been in print, had there been room for it.

The  Innovation Report notes the success of several case studies where stories were packaged as collections and successful because of it, such as the collection of Notable Deaths of 2014 and

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Collection packaging ex. photo courtesy of nytimes.com

a collection of wedding memories on Valentine’s Day. (Seen to the right>>)

It would have been notable to see the publication employing some of these strategies in their online content. Although a collection packaging may not be suitable in this piece in particular, when I was browsing through the Technology section of NYT to get to the article, I didn’t see any pieces packaged as collections within the section or throughout my, albeit brief, scrolling over the rest of the website’s sections. As noted in the report, NYT is aiming to further promote their stories, not only through social media, but through the digital version of the story itself. Looking here at what the report envisions for exploiting the affordances that online publishing can give, it notes that simply designed

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Tools to drive traffic and how it might look in an article. Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

pages do little to keep visitors on the site. To drive more traffic to other parts of the site, NYT was aiming to implement promotional tactics such as Q&A and forms where readers can sign up to find articles of similar topics. The online version of the educational technology start-up article didn’t employ either of these proposed promotional tactics.

Although, seeing as they were talking about education, targeting new and future employees and harnessing their skills through start-up technologies, things like Q&A and links to social sites would have fit perfectly with the trends of this exact demographic.

In the end, NYT’s failure to implement the Innovation Report’s proposed promotional strategies, packaging techniques and visuals that would further enhance the reader’s experience online, earns them a C- for a lack of commitment to the report. Had they attempted to at least employ one of these tactics, they may have earned at least a passing grade, but their failure to accomplish many of the things they set out to do in the report, and their failure to mimic the templates they note worked for other online sources and stories, ultimately leads to their almost passing, but ultimately failing letter grade.

 

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