Joe Zeff Design

A boutique agency that blends software with storytelling, helping the world's largest companies tell stories more effectively.

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Beyond NYT 2020: Visual Journalism Isn't Enough

The New York Times yesterday released an exhaustive report that prescribes changes intended to carry the news organization into 2020 and beyond. A key recommendation: turn up the visuals. 

I am proud to have taken part in a previous effort to uplift the visual report at The Times, when I was hired to be the newspaper’s first presentation editor for its Metro and Business sections. Since then I’ve directed graphics at Time magazine, created interactive storytelling apps for iPads and iPhones, and helped companies like Apple and AT&T tell stories more smartly on digital platforms.

In my opinion, the report focuses too heavily on visual journalism. Putting pictures next to words is a step in the right direction but not enough. That’s what we tried to do 20 years ago, launching an uphill battle that continues today. The report states that 12.1 percent of Times stories have accompanying visuals.

The emphasis should be on experiential journalism, stories that audiences can make their own.