The online versus in print versions of the New York Times are vastly different. They target different audiences. On the front page of today’s printed newspaper was a photo of President Trump at the news conference on Thursday February 16th 2017; on the front page online there is a photo headlining the article “Mexico City, Parched and Sinking, Faces a Water Crisis” written by Michael Kimmelman.
Interestingly, the photo of Mr. Trump is not associated with one article; instead, it is associated to the first four articles (out of six) on the front page. Mr. Trump does not take up the majority of the front webpage; they have assigned a left-hand column to all articles about the 45th president. It may be due to updates more frequently, or a different target audience, however the side column devoted to Mr. Trump does not include a single article from the same days’ printed paper.
The paper has a lot more sub-category break down within its pages, while the online feed has larger content categories. For instance, the website bar displays Tech, Science, Health, Food, Travel, Magazine and Real estate tabs to take you to the corresponding sections. These sections are not in the paged layout, instead the paper is broken into four big sections and divided up within.
First comes the featured articles: this includes the headlines, international, national, weather, fashion, New York, editorials/letters and OPED pieces. Next: business, sports and obituaries are in their own section. Third is Weekend Arts I (roman numeral), this section covers movies, and film/television reviews. Fourth is Weekend Arts II (R.N.) containing galleries, books, puzzles, theater and music. The printed version is relatable to the everyday reader; they can educate themselves on the most relevant happenings. Online, the website is geared towards usability and function; everything has a place and it is easy to locate.
For an in depth analysis I chose Edward Wong’s investigative article Greenpeace Links Beijing Pollution to Steel Plants (print) or Greenpeace Links Beijing’s Air Pollution Surge to Steele Factories (web). Both versions display a Getty image of a masked figure near an operating unauthorized steel plant in northern China. Online they are able to show four additional photos to help the reader envision the setting and the page gives an opportunity to read the article in Chinese.
Both refer to the Greenpeace East Asia report for gaining the evidence used in the article, and quote it often. Online has a hyperlink within the text to view the eight-page document. Both versions refer to how the report got their information through “surveys and additional documents, including ones from local governments.”
The only content that is different between the two is the last sentence online: “Stimulus policies last year also led to an increase in coal prices during one period, though climate change researchers say they expect data to show that overall coal consumption in China declined in 2016 compared with 2015.” This isn’t a necessary comment, just an additional way that demonstrates the lucidity online tries to provide.
I have read a newspaper in print before, but never in it’s entirety; normally there are a few sections I skip over. It was an enduring experience where I solidified my admiration for the written word of journalists. Each work is handcrafted and arranged in a specific matter, where as online everything is there and can get overwhelming at times.
I do keep up with the times. I have the app which updates me about headlining news or I scroll through the “Start your Day” section where you can read snippets of the important points and click on them if I choose to dive deeper. I found this assignment compelling because it showed me how different online and print papers were. The difference in audience choice, I definitely am caught somewhere awkwardly in the middle. I enjoy the accessibility of online news, but nostalgically appreciate the history and time it takes to work through the printed word.