Why Web Beats Paper: Rolling Stone on Justin Bieber

As the NYTimes prepares to take a third kick at charging for its web + online services,   here is another example of why web beats paper from the editorial opportunity  and customer satisfaction points of view. Here is a story about Justin Bieber that could be done in a magazine or newspaper but isn’t … or more pointedly not often enough.

The slideshow on Justin Bieber in Rolling Stone is an example where  each picture is well “worth its thousand words”  weight as each picture works mighty well with their word warriors in the sidebar. What image comes across loud and clear?  First,  Justin Bieber’s mature sense of oneself is made astonishingly obvious. The slide entitled Swag, Swag displays his raw talent. And the last slide on Power – Bieber’s staying power tells the story on will he graduate and last or will he do a Lohan or a Spears?

First, Rolling Stone is certainly not alone in doing Web slideshows effectively. And again this could have been done as an insert in the print pages of Rolling Stone but it works better on the Web because it costs a lot less, it can be produced and delivered a lot faster, it can be powered by SEO reach and sheer word of  Facebook/Twitter/viral mouth. Customers love it because they can be first to  virally tweet/like  the story. Also they can download their favorite images and send them off to friends. And the combo of Pictures+Words really delivers. So maybe there is hope for publishing on the Web; now if the  NYTimes can just get their billing/charging right.

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