A recent history of The New York Times explaining animated GIFs

Sarah Lyall’s profile of Deadspin editor Tim Burke enraged people on the Internet Tuesday, not only because it explained, in glorious New York Times-ese, what a GIF is, but also because it gave a pronunciation that has spurred some controversy: “A GIF, pronounced jif, is a compressed image file format invented in 1987. In the last decade, the animated GIF has become popular.”

Lyall’s story is not the first time the Times has taken on the task of explaining to readers what a GIF is. Read more


Blog strips GIFs from BuzzFeed articles

Buzzfeed Articles Without The GIFs

I love Buzzfeed’s writing, but couldn’t stand those pesky GIFs getting in the way,” writes the creator of a surprisingly compelling Tumblr blog.

Hunter Schwarz’s salute to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was a breezy read when first published in August, but stripped of visual frippery it’s even breezier: 88 words that would totally flatten Lord Zedd.

Sponsored content from Dove about the joys of showering? You won’t break a sweat reading the 77-word version!

The site’s longest read so far: Katie Heaney and Jessica Misener’s attempt to troll mushroom-lovers. The all-text version, at 167 words, reads like a website comment left by a crazy person. A brief example:

They are slimy weird bulb food!!!

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Recently, in GIFs and journalism…

The New Yorker runs one: A beautiful little animation atop a Rob Dubbin post about an unusual video game called Faraway. In an email to Poynter, Dubbin said he made the GIF from a video promoting the game, which isn’t out yet. (It’s not the first time the site’s run an animated GIF, but this one feels like it reflects the magazine’s aesthetic.)


A collection of politicians dancing, in GIFs: One starring Karl Rove features a David Gregory cameo. “[T]hat experience has taught me that’s something I ought to avoid,” Gregory said in 2010 after taking heat for hoofing it with politicos. Read more


NPR explains potato chip technology with GIFs

Planet Money

From the truck to the line to the bag, Jess Jiang and Lam Thuy Vo use five animated GIFs to show how chip tech has advanced since the days of hand-packing.

Mesmerizing GIF of bags by Lam Thuy Vo (courtesy NPR)

Related: What journalists need to know about animated GIFs — really | How Brooklyn artist Rebecca Mock creates quiet GIFs | Hurricane Sandy coverage cliches in GIF form Read more


Hurricane Sandy coverage cliches in GIF form

Are you ready for Sandy, East Coasters? Are you stocked up with water, toilet paper, batteries and trail mix? There’s one more necessity no one in Sandy’s path should be without, and Poynter has made a few for you.

Grocery shelves emptying of water as people stock up (AP)

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Obama is losing the GIF battle

The president has a bigger problem than Monday’s Pew poll: Colin Horgan says Obama came out of last week’s debate with some seriously boring GIFs. Even though most of the ones Horgan saw made fun of Mitt Romney, “the lasting cultural images of him will at least feature the messages he set out to project,” he writes.

(OK, maybe not this one.)

His quotes were used. The words might appear in neon flashing lights or as satire, but there they are. His phrases were remembered, if only as part of a carnival Internet sideshow. By contrast, not only was Obama entirely less memorable, but the Internet considered him to have ultimately been completely silent. As far as the gifs are concerned, he might as well have said nothing at all.

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