Dot Facts, a project designed to reinvigorate the New York Times’ approach to journalism and transparency, was an idea borne of the deteriorating relationship with citizens and the media. Trust in these institutions has cratered, but as newspapers increasingly see their readers and revenue dominated by digital subscriptions, we felt there was a big opportunity to iterate not only in terms of where people were getting the news, but how they were getting it.
A completely different website experience was the best way to help address the need for journalism to double down on transparency and accountability, especially vital at a time when politicians of a certain stripe are fomenting doubts about the honesty of the media. We wanted to tap into the relatively new technology of customized domain extensions to help symbolize this new approach. We landed on the domain extension .facts as the web address and name of our idea. People have developed negative associations with the word news, so we chose to orient the conversation around facts. A fact is something powerful, inarguable, and immutable.
Our redesigned version of the New York Times website offers greater detail on both the content of an article and the person who’s writing it. If information is the value offered by a news source, readers of the country’s most venerated paper should know not only that they’re getting the best information, but how those conclusion are being drawn, and by whom. Our idea maps the timeline, the primary and secondary sources, and the edits and revisions a piece took on the way to publication. It also includes a reimagined author page that helps you put a person behind a byline.
Right now, this idea exists only as the video you’ve watched. But though we designed it and wrote it with the New York Times in mind, we imagine it as an initiative that any newspaper or website dedicated to honest and informed discourse could participate in. That’s why we built the idea around a new domain extension. Using .facts represents a recommitment to what makes uninhibited journalism a necessary and vital part of a thriving democracy. With access to the right resources and the right people, we think this idea could be incredibly impactful. The need for something like this grows by the day.