WATDR: What on Earth is CNN doing?

Who doesn't love all the new things CNN has been rolling out? In my opinion CNN is the front-runner in determining how we all will visualize the news in the future. Here's a quick post about some of the new things I've noticed in the past 24-hours.


Right now it seems that the organization is making a strong push for the reader to use the NewsPulse feature. It's now integrated at the Story level (when you're reading a story its on your right-hand side)

In general, NewsPulse is a data-centric way to drill through stories. This makes sense since most organizations use databases to store their data over the old-way (circa 3-5 years ago) or just having a whole slew of HTML files.

Story Photo Slider
A great way to visualize what happened in a story is to be presented with it's associated images up close and personal. When I'm reading a story, I'd like to see the lead photo as large as possible and I'm glad CNN gets it. CNN goes above expectations by throwing in a sweet little slider for the reader to easily "watch" what happened.

It's a fantastic use of space. You can even hide the captions is if you want. And although I loathe sliders, this one works well. If I were calling the shots, I might ditch the slider and provide users with a link that displays all of the photos (and captions) at some high-resolution capacity. Kudos to Alan Taylor, at the Boston Globe, for bringing this into pop-culture with The Big Picture.

Story Highlights

It's kind of weird that I own the domain storyhighlights.com. But as you expect, story highlights are the cliff-notes version of a story. I want to see this everywhere. I tend to read the highlights first to determine whether or not I want to read the full story. It used to be at the top-right of the page and now it's pressed left.

Below it, on the left-hand, are Related Topics. Some sites call this tags or categories, but it's really nice to see that CNN limits how many related topics there are. The LA Times used to provide a ginourmous word-cloud which was a terrible idea. Example:

Well, it wasn't exactly like that but it could contain more words/tags than the story itself. Information overkill. I'm glad that I just recently noticed it was gone from the LA Times.

The Sliding Left Wall
Not all is super smooth in CNN land; though I'll probably change my opinion in the future. While your reading a story, the left-edge where words begin on a new line sometimes presses right.

I personally think that a little weird. You don't see that pattern in books or magazines that often when reading one body of text. I feel that it distracts the reader from reading a passage in it's entirety -- and heck doesn't it just look funny? I'm sure there's a purpose and maybe you can tell me why it makes sense. In my world, only the right-wall would collapse for external objects.