The New York Times(NYT) has been one of the nation’s leading newspaper and informational sources for over a century. As someone who is especially interested in politics, economics, and the intersectional areas between these two fields, I personally use NYT as my primary source for most political and economic matters. While there are an enormous amount of websites that provide similar information, I have always been drawn to the NYT because of the excellent and uncompromising journalism and wide spectrum of interests the newspaper works to incorporate into it’s website. Beyond the content, the NYT does a phenomenal job of incorporating User Centered Design and Rhetorical Awareness to make the experience of the average user a positive and efficient one.
Rhetorical Awareness and the New York Times
Founded in 1851, the NYT is one of the oldest and most celebrated newspapers in the United States. As time has passed and new forms of media have become available to the masses, the NYT has worked to use these forms of media to enlarge their subscriber base and build a larger audience for their work. A primary form of viewership of the NYT nowadays happens through their website.
One of the most impressive aspects of the NYT website is the broad span of categories you can find information on. If you were to look at the site today, you can find information on anything from politics and economics, to cooking, real estate, and sports journalism. By providing accurate and informative articles on a host of topics, the NYT is able to grow their audience dramatically through the diversity of their reporting.
In an age of major change to the way newspapers distribute their work with the free falling performance of print news distribution, as well as how newspapers secure economic profitability, the New York Times has seen a major uptick in the online and mobile forms of the paper. In the last 3 months of 2016 alone, the NYT added more digital subscribers than in all of 2013 and 2014 combined.
By using rhetorical awareness to identify their target audiences, and provide the information they are searching for, the NYT is doing a strong job of capitalizing on the multi-faceted interests of the average viewer and building a larger subscriber base to continue it’s journalism into the new age of online and mobile news.
User Centered Design and the New York Times
The web designers and editors of the NYT have done an excellent job of creating a user friendly website that caters to the average user as well as the more specific user.
One of the most effective forms of User Centered Design(UCD) the NYT employs is the highly specific sub headings that allow users who are interested in very specific segments of larger topics such as politics, economics, or business to find information they are looking for. For instance in the business tab there are news pieces and articles specifically tailored to those interested in the intersectional area of how US politics is effecting the economy at large, as well as articles geared more towards the financial minded reader who is just interested in seeing updated stock market information.
Another example of the use of UCD to enrich reader experience is that of the short write ups that the NYT has for a number of major articles. These short “reader’s digest” content serve the interests of the casual and busy reader who are interested in more of a concise and effectively communicated way to receive the information the NYT offers.
By utilizing instrumental concepts of rhetorical awareness and used centered design, the New York Times has done an outstanding job of curating top notch journalistic talent, as well as expanding both the quality and quantity of information available to the online user.