…with apologies to Was (Not Was)…
Newspapers are signposts of their constituents in so many ways. Just take look at the difference between the Seattle Times, the Des Moines (Iowa) Register and the Boston Globe (the paper/site I took a look at for this post). Each has top line focus on local news, but the Register does not have a link to national/global news on its front page. They choose to stay purely local.
The Globe fences its video content inside a Globe Video section that features a single video on the front page with a click through to More Globe Video. Several of the videos are news-item related, like this one about a manhole fire and explosion in Medford. It looks and sounds more like what you might see on the local newscast on TV.
The rest of the content consists of specialty and human interest clips, local interviews and movie reviews. On the primary multimedia page you can find several different ways to access the content. Most obvious is a list box that contains a link, thumbnail and short description for each video in the library.
There are other ways to get at the content. There is a link to Browse the Multimedia Archive, containing links to all video and audio content. There is a Multimedia Search function. There are a couple of subject boxes. One is Multimedia Categories, containing National News, Real Estate, Editor’s Picks and the Red Sox (hey, this IS Boston!) for example. The other box is Hot Topics, containing Latest News & Sports, Health Care, and High School – Lacrosse. There are also a few other videos that have links and thumbnails displayed as Related Video Search Results, based upon the video you’re watching.
How well does this work? The videos don’t really support the news too much, but they do give a broader appeal for those who are interested in Boston. The movie reviews are much like any movie reviews, except they use their own critics, which may be attractive to some people, but could be easily produced anywhere.
What could be better? The all video list box has some usability issues making it difficult to navigate. Also, the entire library needs to be meta-tagged more completely so the Related Video Search Results might actually have better relation to what you’re looking at. To enhance their attractiveness to Boston-minded viewers, they should consider enabling user-generated content, making the entire site even more social to its constituents. Also, the varied ways to get at the content shows a sensitivity to how different people find things, but the page is a little cluttered and could be streamlined for ease of use.
Given the challenge for print media today to stay viable offline, the Globe has found a fair way to enhance their physical edition with the multimedia on the site. The real challenge of maintaining a physical edition still exists.