It's time for bigger pictures

I blew a good half an hour yesterday utterly fascinated by this:

Codrie, La., after Hurricane Gustav

It's "just" a 360-degree picture, something that's been around on a lot of news sites since the early days of iPix and Quicktime VR.

But it's huge.

And I tell you what, on a 20-inch Apple Cinema monitor, you feel like you're going to get dunked. The detail is just dazzling. Click and spin and look around.

It makes me painfully aware of how badly most news sites treat photography: Little tiny thumbnail images that (if we're lucky) click through to semi-tiny versions.

It's as if we're still catering to the 14.4kbps dialup crowd.

In a broadband, high-definition world, we should be giving images their due.


Absolutely. Especially when you look at your site stats and observe how even middling photo galleries and any photo sharing apps do. Demand, meet a better supply.

Readers love them and interact heavily with them. We run images that are as large as we can get and compress rather than resize to control bandwidth. We also maintain 1,000s of images at Flickr and find Flickr and Google image search to be iimportant sources of traffic. I'd also suggest that newspapers offer more images. Our experience has been that quantity trumps quality; lower-quality images are preferable to none.

Absolutely. One of my favorite things during my newsroom days was playing with AP's Leaf Desk. My new favorite thing is playing with CoolIris's discover mode. This is something that news orgs should have owned. There's also an opportunity for newspapers to curate content that gets uploaded to flickr. Here is a blog post I wrote on the topic: