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With so many useful options available, why simply shovel text online?
Years ago, Web developers coined a sarcastic term—shovelware—to describe text that’s lifted from a printed publication, then dumped onto a Web site without adapting or enhancing it. Shovelware is easy. It’s a no¬brainer. But it’s lazy. And ultimately, if you load your news site with shovelware, readers will decide that either you don’t care — or you just don’t get it. The Web offers vast storytelling potential, but you’ll never tap it if you’re too dependent on text. The links below demonstrate a variety of multimedia storytelling options.



BBC News
One of the most impressive news sites on the planet. Spend some time exploring the entire site. Then, from the News section, follow the link to "In Depth" story packages, where you can explore topics ranging from bird flu to nuclear power.

Interactive guides from The Guardian
This index guides you to a variety of topics—from soccer to tsunamis—explained through simple yet clever multimedia graphics.

Being a Black Man, The Washington Post
An ambitious series using a range of multimedia—videos, slideshows, polls, graphics—to explore what it means to be a black man. This series is just one example of the Post's consistently smart use of interactive reporting techniques.

Going Down the Crooked Road, The Roanoke Times
Combines audio, video, photos, interviews, even recipes to educate readers on local bluegrass legends and lore.

Chasing the Wind, The Roanoke Times
Uses text, audio, video to tell stories of local tornado chasers and teach you everything you ever wanted to know about tornadoes.

The Bonita News
This may well be the most cutting-edge newspaper Web site -- and if you don't believe that, just link to its sports section and tour the multimedia options for the local hockey team, the Everblades. (Be sure to check out the player cards.)

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Emily's Story, The Boston Globe
A terrific example of a photo story with audio commentary.

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Tacoma News Tribune
A great mix of topics: from music to gardening, dining to football. In particular, check out Mike Sando's Seattle Seahawks blog.

Crime Scene KC
Here's an admirable attempt at providing comprehensive crime coverage for the Kansas City area. Notice the index along the lefthand side that helps you find topics ranging from gun raps to child porn.

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Bluffton Today
Lots of options for readers to contribute photos and join online discussions. (By the way, be sure to check out their innovative way to read the printed paper; click on the TODAY'S PAPER link.)

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