Author Archives: Tracy Boucher

Crime L.A.

The Times’ database of Los Angeles County crime reports delivers the power of neighborhood crime analysis to each reader’s computer. Its visual interface adds context to crime statistics, with a clean design that invites readers to interact on many levels.

Using data from the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Crime L.A. creates maps and reports for the hundreds of cities and neighborhoods covered by these agencies. It provides detailed crime reports and incident-trend profiles that allow readers to view the information in the context of where they live and work, as well as to share comments and insight.

With daily updates, readers can keep current on local crime and compare crime levels across more than 200 neighborhoods and localities. When violent or property crimes rise sharply in LAPD-patrolled neighborhoods, the system delivers a crime alert. Long-term statistics are available for areas covered by LAPD and the sheriff. This is part of the Mapping L.A. project, which launched in 2009 with The Times’ map of 87 neighborhoods in the city of Los Angeles, re-drawn with the help of readers who redrew with our initial boundaries. It runs alongside Homicide Report, an interactive that tracks every homicide in the county using a database and searchable map. Each has built on the former, with a seamless integration that makes otherwise daunting data manageable and accessible to the public.

Crime L.A. was produced entirely with open-source software including Django, Google Maps, jQuery, OpenLayers, PostgresSQL, Simile and Timemap.

The landing page is http://crime.latimes.com/. The interactive database can be found at http://projects.latimes.com/mapping-la/crime/.

Entry Link: http://crime.latimes.com/

This post was submitted by Tracy Boucher.

Hollywood Star Walk

The terrazzo stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame are among the most indelible images of Los Angeles. Over the years, however, the stories behind many of the more than 2,400 stars embedded in the sidewalks along Hollywood and Vine had faded.

In 2010, the 50th anniversary of the Walk of Fame’s creation, The Times opened its archives to create an interactive encyclopedia of many of Hollywood’s most influential players. The companion app integrates a Flash presentation that puts readers on the streets of Hollywood to view each star and its precise location with a database packed with additional historical data.

Through painstaking research and innovative design, the database allows readers to jump to points elsewhere in L.A. and beyond to learn more about significant locations in the lives of the stars; where they were born, went to school, worked, married, died and were buried. More than 2,000 images dating back to the turn of the 20th century were pulled from The Times’ photo archives.

After launch, a reader from Wisconsin wrote: “Thanks for all of the info about the virtual Walk of Fame. As a 60 plus movie buff, I applaud your efforts especially since I will probably never get to CA to see it in person. Getting through all this info could become a new part time job. I hope I will be able to get through the data before I am 90.”

In a twist on six degrees of separation, other stars on the walk are connected with descriptions of how they knew each other. Archival stories are a click away. Readers are invited to share their own memories and stories — as dozens of former “House Party” kids did when Art Linkletter died in May at the age of 97.

Entry Link: http://projects.latimes.com/hollywood/star-walk/

This post was submitted by Tracy Boucher.

The Hero Complex

This is a golden age for stories of the fantastic — science fiction, fantasy, super heroes, etc. — with greater respect for comics and graphic novels and huge box office numbers for special-effects films. There’s an intense appetite by readers for news and insight into this burgeoning scene but typically mainstream journalists don’t have the insider “geek” knowledge to capture the diehard consumers. While the online community and fan press have the knowledge, they can’t report and write at a high level. The Hero Complex is the perfect meld of fan passion and serious journalism; it’s also a study in new media reportage that tests the limits of the term “blog.”

In 2010, the blog underwent an extensive redesign that made it a destination in its own right. With a landing page that looks unlike anything else on the Los Angeles Times, it draws thousands of users daily who read posts, view video and flip through exclusive images, all gathered on an easy-to-navigate home page. It highlights user comments, Twitter feeds, monthly quizzes and divides content by category.

The Hero Complex is being developed as a media brand, with standalone events such as the Hero Complex Film Festival. The design informs that growth and ambition as well.

Entry Link: http://herocomplex.latimes.com/

This post was submitted by Tracy Boucher.

LATimes.com

The Los Angeles Times is a newsroom whose ambition has been unbowed by the seismic forces affecting our industry. We excelled at delivering big league packages on major breaking news: the oil spill in the Gulf, the earthquake in Haiti, and the conflicts in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. We are still are among the handful of news outlets to have correspondents in these places, and up-to-the-minute coverage from each is a hallmark of our hand-coded home page.

Our investigative and enterprise work is stellar. In the past year we stuck up for foster children who were being let down by a callous bureaucracy and, sadly, tracked their deaths; we told about innocent victims of gang violence in a presentation that takes you there through photos and stories. We undoubtedly saved lives with our groundbreaking investigation of Toyota, with a companion interface that lets readers see if their vehicles are affected. Our entertainment coverage pushed into new areas that took advantage of our rich archives and unique access. Our local coverage was exceptional: Our coverage of Bell and its inflated salaries was groundbreaking, as were articles and companion database about L.A. Unified teachers. Sports dominated on its coverage of the NBA champion Lakers, with a photo gallery of celebrity fans a crowd favorite.

We produced several cool new bits of technological innovation, such as Crime L.A., which brings crimes statistics to the neighborhood level, and our panoramic photos, which delivered incredible images from news and entertainment events. Our Star Walk database lets readers stroll the virtual streets of Hollywood, with 2,400 biographies culled from the archives.

This multifaceted site boasts a design sensibility that delivers news respectfully, manages data effortlessly and lets readers navigate seamlessly. Whether article or blog, photo gallery or database, there is attention to style that makes the site inviting and deep. We ask that you consider it throughout the year as the best-designed site.

Entry Link: http://www.latimes.com/

This post was submitted by Tracy Boucher.

Hollywood Star Walk iPhone app

The terrazzo stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame are among the most indelible images of Los Angeles. Over the years, however, the stories behind many of the more than 2,400 stars embedded in the sidewalks along Hollywood and Vine had faded.

In 2010, the 50th anniversary of the Walk of Fame’s creation, the Los Angeles Times opened its archives to create an interactive encyclopedia of many of Hollywood’s most influential players. The companion iPhone app integrates a Flash presentation that puts readers on the streets of Hollywood to view each star and its precise location with a database packed with additional historical data.

The mobile app’s augmented reality allows users to point their iPhones and see the stars layered directly on the screen. For those without video-capable devices, map mode points you in the right direction. Planning a visit? You can make a list of your favorite stars and The Times’ app will create your custom tour. You can find stars by name, by block, by type or by GPS location.

Through painstaking research and innovative design, the database allows readers to jump to points elsewhere in L.A. and beyond to learn more about significant locations in the lives of the stars; where they were born, went to school, worked, married, died and were buried. More than 2,000 images dating back to the turn of the century were pulled from The Times’ photo archives.

In a twist on six degrees of separation, other stars on the walk are connected with descriptions of how they knew each other. Archival stories are a click away. Readers are invited to share their own memories and stories — as dozens of former “House Party” kids did when Art Linkletter died in May at the age of 97.

After launch, a reader from Wisconsin wrote: “Thanks for all of the info about the virtual Walk of Fame. As a 60 plus movie buff, I applaud your efforts especially since I will probably never get to CA to see it in person. Getting through all this info could become a new part time job. I hope I will be able to get through the data before I am 90.”

The app can also be viewed in the iTunes store: http://bit.ly/diZQ0d

Entry Link: http://projects.latimes.com/hollywood/star-walk/

This post was submitted by Tracy Boucher.