The New York Times R&D Lab, a groundbreaking department of applied creative technology that helped one of the great institutions of journalism see how it could thrive amidst a changing media ecosystem, died Monday in New York City. It was eleven years old.
Apparently the requirements for being on the R&D Lab staff required that you be generous and deeply collaborative in addition to being uniformly brilliant.
Check out full article (9m read) at link below for a great overview ↓
+Commentary: This is the saddest day for us on the web. It takes a real geek to have spent hours pondering what it would be like to work with them, to build upon their ideas, and to contribute in some small way. Building upon such untethered work which existed inside a fabled institution.
Forgive us for wonking out like we just lost our favorite Superhero in a non-canon way, in a horrible reboot, that just doesn’t feel right. We are sensitive, and there were or are very few ‘experiments’ like the Times’ R&D Lab which we genuinely cared for. They rose up and were a by-product of the whole trope: “Will Mainstream Media & Journalism Survive” epoch years ago.
That while we might continue on in many ways, still deriding a lack of real analytic skill that exists within these power structures that provide us with news as entertainment paradigm, and their advertiser based models. We didn’t share any of the articles from their blog here, for it was terribly wonkish, not on target, but buried inside every message we put out and will is their wisdom. Whether that be about the future of social media or OS-based walled-gardens controlling your news delivery now, or what the future might hold if we were allowed to innovate, without reacting to the overarching pressures of our tabloid culture.
What this means for us, you, and everyone else is there is a new chapter, newer priorities, and perhaps an aging into Tweenhood of the media, web, and social interplay. The collision of pop culture, with nerd culture or pornification of our news streams. Where #ExposureTrolling meets business & marketing goals, and we can only hope that the App Economy & User Experience will grow up soon.
One of our fave videos which didn’t reach many (only 3k views, ½ probably ours 🙂 ):
They will be missed and let’s hope that we can have more research, not just from the academic, but from a business perspective too since these businesses are likely to be on the most able to use not externally visible big data, so much considered proprietary, with specific security & privacy concerns, creates a unique space.
Which is why they will be greatly mourned by us and others for years to come, as we celebrate all that they were able to accomplish or introduce into the world of tech.