Driving while texting is being covered as a significant safety issue. But to illustrate the point, the New York Times did more than just quote experts on either side of the issue, did more than cite peer-reviewed studies.
It developed a driving game, Gauging Your Distraction, that shows people how much texting impairs their ability to drive.
The background of the game is interesting, so check out the New York Observer article, New York Times Interactive Crew Gets In On the Game: Gauging Your Distraction.
But check out the game itself, too, because while it’s not entirely realistic — you have to change lanes more often than you ordinarily need to in real life and you don’t have to worry hear about other drivers or pedestrians — it is a convincing demonstration that people should not drive and text at the same time. It even includes comparisons of how you scored vs. the general public.
What’s interesting is that the game is a game-changer in terms of traditional journalism. It’s not reporting and it’s not exactly an opinion article.
But it uses the power of multimedia to make a point — and while it’s not the best game ever, it is impressive. The Observer reports the development of the game did not take that long but there was a cost to it, and I wonder how the Times can justify that cost, or the cost of developing future multimedia games to accompany articles.
PR functions need to consider recommending multimedia elements to illustrate their companies offerings. Unlike the Times needing to justify development, organizations can look at it from not only a media-relations effort but also as a lead gen initiative for the website.