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New York Times Posts Original Documents

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Via freegovinfo (via twitter), the New York Times has posted a story about the close relationship between media figures and the current administration.

From an information perspective, I'm impressed (again) by the New York Times development team, who has devised a way for a video news narrative to have original documentation pop up throughout the presentation. The viewer can proceed on a detour through each original document mentioned, perusing the document's content. The narration can then be restarted.

I often find myself trying to explain the connection between original verifiable sourcing and citizen journalists, whose work is often only validated by the sources it can point to. That's one reason I embed pdfs so often on this site (here, here); there are a ton of original documents that have a bearing on what we're working on, and I don't presume to have all of the answers about what they say.

Now the New York Times isn't making a move into full on citizen journalism (although that would be quite a story; if, say, they posted the entire results of their FOIA on governmentdocs.org). They are, however, showing a certain respect for the viewer's position as an information consumer who may want to verify or look for context. We'll take it, as a start. As James A Jacobs writes:

Together, the audio-visual presentation and the documents are a small model for how newspapers could be using the power of the web to enhance their coverage and utility. I would certainly like to see all 8000 pages online!

Agreed.

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