It’s something forward-thinking digital journos have been doing for years — even before the social and mobile fast trains left the station. (IE Blogs are not newspaper stories). Even way before the design realities and technical underpinnings of Responsive or Adaptive Web Design were our buzzwords. Adaptive Journalism is what I would call the ultimate in delivering, to the greatest of our technical and journalistic abilities, the best storytelling for the user at that moment, given how much we can presuppose about their time/space continuum, as it were. It’s like ‘day parting’ by platform — bringing us to a ‘content parting’ place, really. On your couch watching the Presidential inauguration on TV and pulling up a newspaper site live blog on your phone? Then that newspaper site should give you live blog headlines and some version of a curated social conversation that’s happening as well. Pulling up that same live blog on desktop? Then we should serve you the live streamed video on top. Because chances are you’re not sitting in front of your television. But perhaps if it were in the evening and it were a Presidential debate then it might be different. Because perhaps you want to second-screen with your netbook and you yourself wanted to live blog it? This is where storytelling-by-platform, responsive and adaptive design and good ‘ole programming / day-parting can truly be effective at getting users the best information that is fitted to their environment (time of day, platform, location, etc.). Doing adaptive journalism is truly part of the new journalism. The Post recently worked on a project that served live game updates and social content around a baseball game — but only if you were coming to the sports section via mobile web and only if you were . . .. in the stadium! It’s a limited case but it’s pushing the medium and storytelling by location, situation, platform forward in a huge way. This is adaptive journalism I am talking about.
These platforms are emerging in a way that is truly letting us meet users where they are. It’s sort of awesome and it’s sort of awesome that our job as digital journalists is to enterprise on it.