Having a vast array of tools to make use of all the web has to offer for readers is finally paying off in a big, big way.
And not just for editors and publishers like ProPublica. ProPublica has just won 22 design awards for its presentation of important breaking and investigative stories. But, the stories themselves and the way they have been presented are a huge bonus for readers of ProPublica and similar online purveyors of information.
I don’t know anything about the politics of ProPublica, and that’s not what I’m writing about or extolling here.
I would invite to find out for yourself by looking at the story(ies) ProPublica has put together about the deaths of sailors aboard two U.S. Navy destroyers during a short span of time in the area around Taiwan and China and the Philippines. Take a look at the story about the USS Fitzgerald. It is a perfect mix of text, 3D graphics, photos and charts. It’s a marvel in the use of web-based story-telling tools.
The New York Times had a pioneering piece a few years back about a mountain accident that kind of pioneered this branch of journalism. But, that story, as a pioneer, was rustic compared to the story of the Navy’s failures as detailed by ProPublica.
People will pay for this kind of reporting and editing, and they will come to expect this level of expertise. It will be a little more expensive than a typical subscription. But, boy, will it be worth it.