Monday, February 11, 2008

Thugs and 'Cuz Written in Urdu.

One of the shining beacons of New Media Journalism is the New York Times. Since their redesign the amount of new offerings in the form of video and specials, like the way they've been handling Campaign '08, are inspiring especially due to the amount of creativity they've been bringing to the table. One of my favorite recent packages is this wildly entertaining video on two rival Urdu language newspapers in Queens. What's most astounding about it however, is its synergy with the print piece. Rather than following the written story closely, the video branches off towards one of the editor's smoking habits, and the other's perfectly encapsulated relationship with his son. The print article adds a bit of color not in the video: the editor's son is a Chomsky quoting upstart who is wary of his father's close, yet troubled, relationship with his rival working in the building just next door. Having a bit of experience in both of these forms, print and video, it's a pretty amazing accomplishment to have one form not directly echo the other, but add to it.

Also, the Times's blogs are completely spectacular. From Nizza's, the Lede focussing on off-beat news (where a recent post covered how a oil platform was evacuated because of a dream), to Errol Morris's Zoom which includes pie-graphs, faked photographs, and dissertation length articles on the problems of photography, it's a wonder that people would read anywhere else on the web (that's a little far but still...). One of the most fascinating discussions you'll see (anywhere on the web), and I'm a little late on the trigger, is this discussion on the Freakonomics blog where an author sat down with a group of actual reformed criminals and watched The Wire to judge the show's accuracy. They call these viewings "Thugs and 'Cuz," 'Cuz' being the author. Over the course of the series you'll find them making great observations over Bunk's guilty conscience and finding fault with Prop Joe's great failing. It's a must read.

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