Distinctive visuals grab readers and hold their attention. For decades, Art Shay and other sophisticated photographers with a technical bent have used panoramic cameras including the Widelux for terrific shots. Newspaper web sites are starting to experiment with full 360-degree photography. Check out this stunning audio and visual of a memorial on the Drillfield to the Virginia Tech victims (from The Roanoke Times). Other companies, including VRWay, are posting their own versions. Panoramas.dk collects more examples and information on the story behind the photos. Now, Rob Curley is planning on using panoramas for very local, and very functional, compelling visuals on the new Loudon County hyper-local site on washingtonpost.com (emphasis added):
The site will also have several new features that the printed paper can’t match. Rob Curley, WPNI’s vice president of product development, takes on a nearly evangelical fervor as he talks up what he’s got in store. Whipping out his ever-present Apple laptop and clicking frantically, he shows off a database that includes panoramic photos of every high school football field in the county; click on sections of the grandstands and you can see the sight lines to the field. There will be podcasts of some local church sermons, real-time accounts of high-school games and highly detailed restaurant guides, too. "You want to know which [county] restaurants are open after 11 p.m. on a Thursday? Boom! There you go!" he says, triumphantly displaying such a list.
— from AJR
Those sitelines might help more news organizations see their way clearly into a future where visuals play an even more valuable part — both for utility and for grand, eye-catching statements.