The newspaper of record is venturing into poetry. Today may be April Fools Day, but Times Haiku — a new side project from The New York Times — is a wholly serious endeavor launching just in time for National Poetry Month. Nieman Journalism Lab has the full rundown on the Tumblr-based project, which spits out haikus generated from sentences on the NYT's homepage. It accomplishes this by matching words up against a dictionary that helpfully includes syllable count. Selections published to the blog are curated by humans, a necessary step since its creators admit Times Haiku "can't distinguish between an elegant verse and a plodding one."
To build the whimsical project, developer Jacob Harris coded a script that digs through front page stories in search of ideal words and phrases and then arranges them in proper haiku format. Designer Heena Ko and software engineer Anjali Bhojani helped push the project across the finish line; they also decided to make haikus appear as images, a smart move that makes them easily shareable across various social networks.
It's hard to find your
bearings in the middle of
“There’s something appealing about finding these snippets of text, these turns of phrase and pulling them out,” Harris told Nieman Journalism Lab. "You find it compelling and it drives you to read the article that it came from." Lighthearted as each haiku may be, they're ultimately yet another way to steer readers toward full New York Times articles (and ideally a subscription). You'll find Times Haiku's