The New York Times hosts a series of Q&A; sessions with its own editors and staff. On April 21, the guest was Khoi Vinh, design director of NYTimes.com.

It’s a fascinating look at how one flagship paper presents its news on the Web, made astounding by this response to the observation that NYTimes.com maintains consistency across browsers and platforms:

It’s our preference to use a text editor, like HomeSite, TextPad or TextMate, to “hand code” everything, rather than to use a wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) HTML and CSS authoring program, like Dreamweaver. We just find it yields better and faster results.

Holy guacamole!

Vinh makes a distinction in design spheres of influence, which is one that the next teacher of JOUR 428 needs to take into account.

When most people hear “design” and “NYTimes.com” together, they usually think of the wonderful interactive graphics or multimedia storytelling done by our colleagues on the graphics and multimedia teams…. Though we do work with these teams in a support capacity, it’s not the core of what we do. If you think of their work as design for the content that appears on our site, then you can think of the work that my team does as design for the framework for that content. Which is to say, we create the underlying platform on top of which the content sits.

No, I’m not teaching JOUR 428 next year. It was ripped from my grasp by an incoming full-time faculty member. I’m not as bitter about this as I was two years ago, because this time the person replacing me is qualified. I assume.

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