March 19, 2009

SXSW wrap-up and a few notes


I had a fantastic time at the SXSW Interactive Festival, and really enjoyed meeting everyone I got a chance to speak with. Some of the best conversations I've had in months. I'm working on recovering my slides to try to get them online... however, my laptop died (hardware failure) less than an hour after my presentation - at least it was after and not before - whew.

The big theme that resounded with me in the talks I attended was the accelerating transformation (or death) of print media. Clay Shirky has some sobering, thought-provoking thoughts on the subject here: Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable. It's obvious that big changes are happening, with the biggest question being "how will journalism be supported"? Note that I did not ask "how will newspapers be funded", but journalism - how will the reporters and photographers who are out there in the world digging for the stories and telling them to the world support themselves?

Shirky's answer to that is "I don't know", and I think that's about the most coherent thing that can be said at this stage. There is an appetite for news, for reporting, storytelling and photojournalism - a need for reliable and engaging windows into our world, from hyperlocal spaces to interstellar space. The best thing we in the storytelling business can do is keep experimenting, refining, responding.

In that vein, here are a couple of efforts and articles that I find noteworthy, (both new and old):

- Open Blog from the NY Times - where they keep us up to date on all of their efforts to open up the NYT digital space (via APIs) to developers, and through them the rest of the world.

- The Guardian UK's Open Platform, where they open up access to a Content API and the Guardian's Data Store

- The death of the news, an intriguing look at a possible future with no professional journalism

- Some interesting ideas here at Design is Philosophy, especially number two, where he points out a 'Big Picture' trend among several European online papers, including Aftenposten, Dagbladet and VG, where large images dominate front pages and major articles.

- has their own Big Picture, with captions in Hungarian

- has their own Big Picture galleries too, but I can't figure out how to navigate to them. If you go to their News Photo page, and choose a story, you'll get a small-image gallery - But if you edit the URL a bit, and make the third part of it read "gallery", you get a Big-picture view - small vs. big. (let me know if I'm missing something simple)

- And, last but not least, from my friend Sam: a single-serving website called

Email to a friend  |    |  
Related Sites

Large-size news photo sites:
Blogs/Photo News:
Multimedia storytelling:
Previously featured photographers on TBP:

Thanks for your great work!

Posted by sashainrussia March 20, 09 05:09 PM

The newspapers aren't unique way , i think it's better for enviroment huge numbers of trees be save with every "pasquin" dead, for ejem "the Sun".

Posted by Miguel Bonilla March 23, 09 03:27 PM

Alan, first of all I would like to thankyou very much for the excitingly amazing photo sets. I had become addicted to them since my very first visit. Keep going!

As for the "Big Picture Notes" - in my opinion it's format worse than the "Big Picture" itself. The "click to view" paradigm lacks of that immerse given by continuous tape of full screen breathtaking high quality images.

Posted by maxwolf March 27, 09 02:54 PM

I also went to SXSW an what an amazing time I had!!! Great people, great conversations and GREAT music! Couldn't ask for more:)

Posted by Crystal April 7, 09 10:05 AM

Another SXSW'er here. Just wanted to say your panel was one of the highlights of the week. Thanks for all the great work!

Posted by Adam April 16, 09 02:36 PM

Unfortunately the mentioned from Hungary (and its kind of Big Picture) went out of business due to the crisis.

Great job with the Big Picture and I regret not being there at SXSW to hear your panel.

Keep up the great job!

Posted by atomtenger May 11, 09 06:52 PM
   recent entries

add your comment *(If you put a URL in your comment, it must be relevant )
Required (will not be published)

This blogger might want to review your comment before posting it.