First off, there was the building. It's a huge skyscraper in Rockefeller Center, right across the street from 30 Rockefeller (home of NBC Universal) and the Radio City Music Hall. We walked in to a huge lobby, complete with high-tech security and marble floors. It really seemed intimidating, coming in to this giant building instead of a small studio office underneath The New School. It's a good thing we had people in the front to greet us as we came in.
We were received by Patrick Durando, Senior Director of Digital New Media at McGraw-Hill. Enterprise Community Member Edward Ford and Usability and Interactive Designer Ruth Neighbors also presented. These three looked a lot more corporate than our previous presenters, dressed in suits and ties instead of polos and jeans.
McGraw-Hill is probably most recognized for their work in textbook publication, but in fact, this is actually only a small part of the McGraw-Hill field. They also own consumer and energy rating companies like JD Power & Associates and Platts, as well as several S & P services in the financial sector.
As this company focuses a lot on education and finance, it is a bit of a surprise that they actually have huge projects in new media. One interesting one is Buzz, their inter-company social network, which was developed over several years. Ruth Neighbors and Edward Ford discussed what services Buzz offers, as well as the process that went through making it. It really is a very complex operation, but in general, they focus on Research, Evaluation, and Design. They also discussed a neatly-structures Experience Design Work Plan that analyzes the following: Key Activity, Assessment, Requirements, Modeling, and Development
Probably my favorite part of the tour was a look at the media studio at McGraw-Hill. They have entire floors devoted to media, complete with a green room and all the appropriate hardware and software. A lot goes on in this studio, including online lectures, interviews, and webcasts. Patrick Durando was actually one of the people responsible for starting this department, and it seems to be growing bit by bit. They even have a motion capture studio in London.
I loved hearing from start-up entrepreneurs, but I really had no idea what went on in the larger companies. Our visit to McGraw-Hill showed us how many huge corporations are starting to utilize digital and new media to great effect. Admittedly, I never thought much of working for a huge place like this, even less after our several other trips, but now that I see how places like McGraw-Hill are preparing for the future of media, I must say that I am intrigued.