I found an interesting and complex story about the Mexican drug war both in a traditional format http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/16/world/americas/16mexico.html and in a really cool multimedia format http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/world/2009-mexican-cartel/index.html?ref=multimedia.
The difference between the two stories is striking. The print version is pretty mundane and reads like a normal newspaper story, thereby immediately making me tune out and stop caring. It’s not that the content is uninteresting, in fact I find it very interesting, but the multimedia package seems to drive the story in a way that forces me to pay attention.
So how does this multimedia package do this? I think its main advantage is giving me information in a way that helps me digest it quikly. The tradtional story has a picture and a little map but, the multimedia one has text, video, stills, animaion, maps, and an easy to follow timeline describing each section. Therefor if, as we discussed, “a picture is worth a thousand words” the multimedia package give me a lot more information in 9 minutes then I could get from spending the same amount of time just reading the story.