This is more novelty right now than anything else for the Times. But it’s part of a larger phenomenon of plotting news on maps. A partial list of folks doing that include MetaCarta, Everyblock, Outside.in, YourStreet and others.
I like Google Earth but it’s too cumbersome to fire up daily to read news. This would be more useful in my opinion in Google Maps.
Update: I was reminded that KML files show up in Google Maps so effectively you can see everything there too:
Here’s a post I did a couple years ago advocating someone build a “3-D newspaper.”