The New York Times' miraculous mega-multi-media feature "Snow Fall" is a triumph of reporting, design, and creativity. It was immediately hailed by much of the Internet as the "future of journalism." It's not.
As Andrew Kueneman, deputy director of digital design at the Times, told the Atlantic Wire's Rebecca Greenfield, "This story was not produced in our normal CMS ... We don't have the luxury of doing this type of design typically on the web. Now we just have more options and more tools."
It's my suspicion that "Snow Fall" won't change the architecture of journalism any more than movies changed the architecture of novels. Some stories yield themselves to dynamic visuals, and most don't, and readers are okay with that. In fact, according to Pew Research, young mobile readers prefer a "print-like experience" over tech features like audio, video, and complex graphics. The emergence of mobile devices reinforces the power and the ease of old, boring, columns of text. For all the ways the Internet is molding our brains, we seem to like reading stories just like our grandparents did.