What’s really fun about being on this new “product development” team here at Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive is that our projects are really diverse in both involvement and scope.
Our team’s first major project here at WPNI was “onBeing” which was a lot of fun to be a part of because although it was primarily a video-based project, it felt different to me than any other thing we’ve worked on in the past.
We’ve got lots of other projects in the pipeline — some small, some huge. To give some perspective on what I mean by the size of projects, “onBeing” is kind of a medium-sized project.
Here are a few other smaller projects that our team has released over the last few months or so:
Clive James comes to Slate!
Clive James is a great interviewer, as well as quite the personality himself. And although he’s huge across the pond, he’s relatively unknown here in the States.
Which is a damn shame.
Thankfully, Slate is trying to do something about it.
Although Slate already has been publishing a 24-part series called “Clives Lives” — which is an excerpt of James’ 20th Century intellectual history, Cultural Amnesia — to me, the crown jewel is “The Clive James Show.”
These longer video interviews conducted by James directly from his London home are great, and definitely different than what most folks with a “YouTube” mentality might be expecting. For starters, they’re longer than what typical videos are on the Internet. But really interesting and definitely worth your attention.
If the video player for “The Clive James Show” looks a little familiar, it’s because it is. It’s basically a re-skinned version of the player that Jesse Foltz and Deryck Hodge built for “onBeing.” The design tweaks came from talented Slate designer Vivian Selbo, and look great.
And just like with “onBeing,” all the clips can be downloaded in tons of different formats, and there is a blog attached to each video.
I know I’m biased, but just like with “onBeing,” I love the total experience of “The Clive James Show” on Slate. It seriously kicks ass.
To get a much better introduction to all of this, please read Slate editor Jacob Weisberg’s post about this new video series.
Coverage of health issues is something that Newsweek magazine does a really nice job with. Related to that, one of the things the Newsweek team asked us to do was build a health calculator for Newsweek.com.
This was a different project for us than what we normally do because most of the stuff that we typically build is stuff that we dream up and implement on our own. But for this health calculator, our team pretty much just built what was outlined for us, which was definitely a new experience for us.
The project specs and the content for the calculator basically came from the Newsweek.com team in New York. On our end, django programmer Deryck Hodge and journalism news nerd Levi Chronister (whose official title is Journalism Technology Specialist) did most of the heavy lifting.
Here is a link to the Newsweek.com health calculator.
One interesting note about this project is that we know instantly when MSNBC.com is linking to the health calculator because the traffic just explodes.
As I’ve probably already alluded to enough on this blog, and in numerous conversations, building stuff for Slate is a blast!
From the publisher (Cliff Sloan) to the editor (Jacob Weisberg), to basically everyone else we’ve ever dealt with at Slate, you really get the feeling that they’re on to something at that site. They’re smart, fun and hard-working.
So, when the folks at Slate asked our team to build them a database to coincide with the Slate 60, we were all over it.
For those of you who don’t know (and I have to admit that I didn’t before I joined WPNI), the Slate 60 is an annual list of the biggest philanthropists in the United States.
And just like our experience with the Newsweek.com health calculator being crushed when it was linked to by MSNBC, we had a similar experience when MSN linked to the Slate 60 database — more traffic in a shorter amount of time than anything I’ve ever experience in my life.
I remember back in Lawrence when we would get a little nervous when Drudge would link to us. Well, that sort of traffic is nothing like when MSN links to something.
You know what’s cool for this dork from Kansas? What I love is that we’re just getting started.
We’ve got another cool thing launching for Slate in the next week or so, then we’ve got two or three really big things we’ve been working on here at WPNI all launching in April and May. It’s going to be a blast!