Journalists begin adopting TimelineJS

About three weeks ago the Knight Lab introduced Timeline – a tool that enables journalists to quickly and easily create good-looking, interactive timelines.

Word of Timeline slipped out a few days before we formally announced the product on Twitter on March 21 and followed up with a press release on March 23. A week later Twitter feedback made it clear that Timeline’s developer and Medill faculty member Zach Wise had created something particularly useful.

Links to Timeline from Twitter surged on March 31 to more than 200, according to Topsy.

Visits to KnightLabTimeline.com also surged, peaking at 13,332 on March 29 before settling into a steady rate of about 1,400 visits a day.

visits to timeline

More important than Twitter or Google Analytics statistics, however, is that journalists started using Timeline almost immediately.  Austrian paper Vorarlberg used Timeline to help tell the story of a murdered boy; Meating Place magazine used it to chronicle the history of “pink slime”; and City Mag used it to document the introduction of Chicago’s different cuisines. (For a more complete list, click here.)

At least one designer reimagined a timeline as an effective means of presenting a professional portfolio. He took the Timeline JavaScript and modified the CSS to create a custom look.

The intention here is not to boast or brag, but to simply share what we’ve learned and show how Timeline has been adopted thus far. It seems clear that journalists are hungry for tools that will help them do their jobs and are easy to use and good-looking.

We’ll update you all again on Timeline in a week or two. In the meantime, kudos again to Zach Wise for conceiving, developing and continuing to refine a useful tool.

About the author

Ryan Graff

Communications and Outreach Manager, 2011-2016

Journalism, revenue, whitewater, former carny. Recently loving some quality time @KelloggSchool.

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