CNN Praised for Seizure-Inducing Primary Coverage

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There’s been some congratulatory silliness for CNN on its “winning” coverage of the New Hampshire primary. That’s a nice take, but it gets funny if you stop to think about how much these outlets are struggling with the word “interactive.” I recall Wolf Blitzer actually suggesting I get my laptop out to visit CNN.com while I watch CNN…a nice plug, I do that sometimes, but missing the point if there’s no real additional education value to getting online.

The humor lies in television’s attempt to use new technology and visual advances to trick viewers into thinking they’re being interactive. The CNN screen looked like a video game dashboard, running much more information than a normal human should want to see at once. The studio set that featured an imposing herd of 60 inch monitors didn’t help, either…I applaud film.com, which quipped “When did the CNN newsroom become the bridge of Star Trek Voyager?”

That’s not interactive, it’s bombardment. Commentators (that’s you, John King) also got to play with some funky touch-screen technology which I say to CNN is – yes! – interactive. For you. Not for us.

I could head down a similar path with the Wall Street Journal and its new layout, which nearly crashes my Firefox every time I log on. On the plus side, WSJ.com is most definitely interactive…but again mistakes information overload for quality delivery.

This will all shake out with time. Outlets will realize that readers/viewers want to be educated one or two (or even three) steps at a time, but not 20. For now, though, color me disappointed. What is that, violet?

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