Google Earth, New York Times Team Up

    by Leslie Rule
    April 13, 2008

    In early March, the amazing Amy Gahran and I presented at Knight Digital Media Center seminar talking about new tools. I spoke about locative media, showed examples, learned a lot, and assured all the participants that they too could create multimedia editorial pieces using Google Earth’s very simple toolkit.

    One participant from a medium-sized paper in New York State took me up on my offer to walk her through the process. She thought it was cool and wanted to bring it into her newsroom. We soon hit the wall: systemic infrastructure issues like only administrators can add applications (standard operating procedure, that’s why you need a laptop); firewalls keep links/emails out; older machines can’t speedily process server-based apps. Old media entrenched. We need a new media framework. For me, one of the most important new media hallmark is, “Grab the gear and go do it yourself (Sound like Punk Rock?)…and make it multimedia.” If you wait for things to happen from the top-down, I think you wait for a pink-slip.

    I wanted to show this adventuress and oh-so-smart editorial writer how she could write a multimedia editorial, place it Google Earth, embed links, audio, video, comments, and then have it download so that any one could experience (you’re not really reading) it. Unfortunately, over the phone and using company gear, we couldn’t make it happen. But it got me thinking…


    Then last week the New York Times and Google partnered to provide a NYT layer in Google Earth allowing you to track articles geographically. The New York Times is now part of the GE dataset included in the application. Their placemark includes headlines and first paragraphs with a link back to the website for the complete story. You can now browse New York Times news based on geography. Has the New York Times become hyperlocal, even though the content may not have that perspective. if all goes according to plan, the news will be updated every 15 minutes.

    So, here is my story, and in true new media fashion, I made a YouTube video. Because it’s a new media piece about the partnership, it should explain how you might use these tools yourself.

    Tagged: google earth locative media new york times

    3 responses to “Google Earth, New York Times Team Up”

    1. Matt says:

      Thanks for this clear demonstration of Google Earth’s story-telling capabilities. The easier this becomes, the more likely it is to get buy-in from traditional media stalwarts. I’ve found it’s one thing to teach editors how to use this tool, and another to teach them how to think of the tool when assembling their stories. Baby steps. Such great possibility with such minimal investment, as you suggest, can lead to more engaging journalism.

    2. Amy Gahran says:

      Awww, thanks for calling me “amazing,” Lesli. But I suspect I learned far more from you at that KDMC seminar in March than the reverse :-)

      I’ve been delving into Google Earth lately, and your post was the nudge I needed to tell more journalists about it. So I did just that.

      See today’s E-Media Tidbits post on Poynter.org. And also watch for the Apr. 16 SEJ Tipsheet.


      – Amy Gahran

    3. zhok says:

      You can find some of the most amazing places caught from google earth at
      Hope you enjoy ;)

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