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screenshot of the last step of the NY Times pieces titled, Turning A Corner

The New York Times now has a web Flash player

Before we had D3 and all this fancy web technology, interactive news pieces on the web were usually built using Adobe Flash. Some of my favorite news graphics are from that era, and when I talk about them I like to joke that they're so old they were done in Flash (a joke that dates me as much as it dates these news graphics)!

The problem is that Flash, while ubiquitous in the early 2000s, was deprecated in 2017. That unfortunately means that they are all but inaccessible now, because no current browser includes Flash, and the workarounds I've tried have not been successful either. I wrote about the problem of bitrot on the web many years ago, and Flash pieces were a big part of that.

Now however, it appears that the New York Times has added a web-based Flash player to their archive website that can run these old pieces! Now you can experience them in all their interactive glory. Check these out:

Edit: a few more, suggested by people on Bluesky:

And there are many more I can't think of right now. What's kind of funny is that now that the Flash pieces are working again, it's even more painful to see some other pieces be broken that don't even use Flash (like this one, where a few of the steps don't work)

It's a great move, and I really hope that more news outlets will follow suit – looking at you, Washington Post!

Posted by Robert Kosara on January 8, 2024. Filed under journalism.