PAULINE’S PICK: Newark ‘Star-Ledger’ Revisits 1967 Riots

By: Pauline Millard

Big Web presentations are like any special newspaper project: When a paper knows a big anniversary is coming up, its staff plans coverage and sinks its teeth into research and reporting. Now that newspapers have to deal with putting content online, it adds another facet to their planning stages. In addition to editing, technology snags have to be factored in as well.

The payoff, though, can be well worth it. Today I looked at the Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger’s package recalling the city’s 1967 riots. Some say it was the event that sparked the city’s decline. Others argue that racial tensions had been brewing for years in the area, and the riots were the tipping point. Whatever the case, the Star-Ledger has spent months poring over documents to explain the fallout after a taxi driver was seen being dragged into a local police station, and how residents reacted.

Each day over the past week the Star-Ledger Web site has been updated with new stories about the conflict. There are also videos that feature interviews with residents, former National Guardsmen, and shopkeepers who were there, as well as scholarly analysis. The paper also encourages readers to contribute their own thoughts.

Tackling this event must have been a huge untaking, but the Star-Ledger did it well. The print stories are well-researched and robust, and the videos and photos provide striking visuals that help readers put the events into perspective. The area where the riots took place has changed dramatically since 1967, and through all multimedia elements the Star-Ledger shows what Newark was like then and how the city attempts to move forward today.

Has your paper put a local anniversary into context for its readers? I’d love to know about it. Or any other Web innovation or special audio/video treatment.

Recent picks:

How ‘Financial Times’ Brings Business News to the Web

SeattleTimes.com Gets in on Video

Boston.com Uses Slideshow to Show Possible Effects ofGlobal Warming

Petaluma Newspaper Lets Locals Blog

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