Big Picture Developed in Spare Time
April 25, 2009 8:12 PM   Subscribe

This week's New York Times Punch Awards notification brought the news that award winning Boston Globe's The Big Picture was developed and promoted largely on Alan Taylor's own time. The most recent entry is a look at life from the other side of the border by Peering Into North Korea.
posted by netbros (23 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Cough, cough.
posted by ColdChef at 8:57 PM on April 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by ageispolis at 9:33 PM on April 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

This thread is being developed wholly on MetaFilter Time.

By which I mean some sort of universal time zone, rather than anything requiring an IRS investigation of employee/contractor gray areas.
posted by dhartung at 9:36 PM on April 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Congratulations, Alan! Very well deserved!
posted by carter at 10:14 PM on April 25, 2009

For anyone about to make a lamewad Man of the Year joke (me), this is a New York Times award, not a Time Magazine award.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:40 PM on April 25, 2009

That's terrific. Big Picture is one of my favorite things about the internet.
posted by rtha at 10:46 PM on April 25, 2009

Alan is doing good work. I've had The Big Picture on my favourites list since I first came across it on MetaFilter. Kudos.
posted by WalterMitty at 11:01 PM on April 25, 2009

Mostly unrelated: I got a popup request to participate in a survey while visiting earlier today. It took awhile to ease into its main purpose, but evidently the NYT is planning to create a new paid subscription service for online readers, and they're surveying to see what kind of benefits people would like to receive. The survey made it seem like there's little chance that they're going to put much if any of their content behind a paywall; they're considering things more like special newsletters, invitations to speaking events with NYTimes journalists, and discounts on Times and non-Times products. They also, interestingly, seem to be planning to be pretty explicit about describing this as essentially a charitable contribution needed to keep the paper operating (there were several questions measuring how interested you are in supporting the continued existence of high quality journalism). I don't think many corporations could ask their customers to donate extra money to them for the good of society. But perhaps the NYT can; I donate to NPR, and I'd say I get at least 10x the value from as I do from Morning Edition.

On topic: I hadn't heard of The Big Picture before, but will start following it.
posted by gsteff at 11:13 PM on April 25, 2009

Alan exemplified two of our cherished Rules of the Road. First, he maintained a “relentless focus on our customers.” Second, he did so by “innovating” so that our organization could continue to strive towards realizing its full competitive potential.
die die die nyt.
posted by geos at 2:22 AM on April 26, 2009

Let's hope The Big Picture survives the imminent demise of The Globe.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:13 AM on April 26, 2009

Didn't know it was on Projects - now that I know that it doesn't really change the level of awesomeness it consistently reaches, but it makes it a bit easier to say: Alan, damn fine job!
posted by DreamerFi at 4:52 AM on April 26, 2009

Thanks everyone. The prize is great, for sure and yes, what the article says is mostly true. I do most of my image browsing/gathering and comment moderation in the evenings/weekends, and do a burst of editing and posting in the mornings at work 3 times a week (then I have to do my actual job). As far as promoting it on my own time, most of that was emailing friends, posting to a few places like MeFi projects, the rest was a tremendous word-of-mouth.
posted by kokogiak at 5:30 AM on April 26, 2009 [10 favorites]

Congratulations, Alan, well-deserved indeed. I have to ask, though, how you feel about the Wall Street Journal's copycat "Photo Journal?" I don't mean to pander, but I like yours more; better pictures, more timely, and works better in Reader. Finally, and sincerely, "thanks!"
posted by mmahaffie at 5:57 AM on April 26, 2009

Alan exemplified two of our cherished Rules of the Road. First, he maintained a “relentless focus on our customers.” Second, he did so by “innovating” so that our organization could continue to strive towards realizing its full competitive potential.

I. Uh. Wow.

posted by The Whelk at 6:59 AM on April 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

@mmahaffie - As long as the WSJ or any of the other copycats out there are doing their own thing, and only copying the general style, I'm actually happy with the situation. It's silly to try and defend as mine what is basically a template - the difference is in what you do with it, editorial choices and presentation, etc. Plus, if they do it well, then that's awesome - more great large photos on the web.
posted by kokogiak at 8:04 AM on April 26, 2009

Good points, Alan. Thanks!
posted by mmahaffie at 9:06 AM on April 26, 2009

Whoa, I love Big Picture, no idea it was so close to home. Weird just the other day I as telling a friend about how bottom up innovation in news will be what saves papers, citing the Big Picture as a prime example of what works well in a digital medium. If this had been a decree from higher ups, I'm almost certain it'd be in a lousy Flash interface and would force us to sit through a 30 second commercial (with big (C) BOSTON GLOBE watermarks across each picture).
posted by geoff. at 9:45 AM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Alan developed and promoted the blog largely on his own time. And we’re so glad he did. Since its inception in June 2008, The Big Picture has garnered almost 37 million page views and engaged its audience in new and profound ways.

It's good because it gets eyeballs? No, NYT, it gets eyeballs because it's good.
posted by djgh at 10:47 AM on April 26, 2009

The comments are AWFUL though.
posted by smackfu at 11:38 AM on April 26, 2009

"Excellent" job "innovating," Alan.

By which I mean, "Fantastic" job "being innovative."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:14 PM on April 26, 2009

Yay, finally a Big Picture thread where I don't have to do the Metafilter's Own thing. Congrats, kokogiak!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:58 PM on April 26, 2009

@kokogiak, yeah it really annoys me when people use the [k] tag when all they are doing is copying the template. ;)
posted by Sir Mildred Pierce at 9:32 AM on April 27, 2009

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