The New York Times described this piece on the 2014 New York City Marathon as “a poem in sights and sounds, featuring an interactive map of the course and video.” Beginning in Staten Island, the reader travels through the course observing short (no more than 15 seconds) scenes during the race. Each scene is captioned by sentence fragment that disappears about five seconds into the video.
Why did the New York Times decide that the marathon’s narrative needed to be represented this way? The Times wrote multiple articles summarizing the race and profiling different runners; in addition, it produced several other videos capturing post-race exhaustion and runners’ style. The race was also televised. So then it begs the question – what does this piece add to the narrative? This piece captures more mundane, personal moments during the race. It’s the everyman’s experience which may be more difficult to make compelling in print.
Do you consider this journalism? Or is it more akin to art? The Times describes this piece as a poem and it is structured more like an interactive art piece than a story. It’s certainly not recognizable as traditional journalism with a specific structure (lede and nut graph). If it’s not journalism, why did the New York Times produet it?
What does the interactive scrolling add to or take away from the story? The reader can scroll forward and backward through the story; as they scroll, videos in each scene autoplay and the captions appear and disappear. Although the map is clickable, it is not immediately obvious to the reader that they can navigate using it. In addition, the scroll bar disappears which gives the impression that the page might autoscroll. The interactive elements in this piece are often confusing; the reader isn’t clear what they are or are not supposed to do to move through the piece. I would have preferred for the page to advance automatically through the scenes to create a more seamless experience.