JOUR 3102 Content Analysis #5

1. Compare a Web site for a national news organization with that of a local news organization.  How does the content differ?  How much national material is on the "local" Web site?  How much local content is on the "national" Web site?  If you could only view one, which one of the two would you go to for the news you'd want to know, and why?

2.  Analyze a Web site for a local television station or newspaper, looking at aesthetic and ethical issue.  For each, make a list of what each does well and what YOU would do differently based upon what you learned from your chapter 9 reading.

            The Web sites of National and Minnesota Public radios are an interesting comparison, because MPR gets most of its national content from NPR. I've found that while MPR is mostly local content, it makes the effort to cover important national stories--the same ones that make headlines on NPR--from a Minnesota point of view wherever possible. For example, the Toyota recall is one of the big stories on both pages, but MPR's story focuses on a local man who will be cleared of murder charges if he can prove that his deadly car accident was the fault of his Toyota vehicle. The health care summit is big news on both pages, but MPR put a Minnesota-related General Assistance Medical Care story side-by-side, in order to report the close-to-home Minnesota angle of the health care happenings.
Since nothing of national note has happened in Minnesota today, it's not surprising that there is no local material on NPR's Web site. In a graceful balance, MPR does a good job of reporting both the national news and what it means for its own audience by putting a Minnesota focus on many national events or nearby to subsidize it. If I could view only one of these sites, I would look at MPR because it reports the local, the national and sometimes the local component of the national stories.
            MinnPost seems to have its aesthetics down pat. The color scheme--Minnesota maroon and gold--is consistent throughout. With the news site's adherence to colors, ads stick out enough that the viewer can instantly identify them as ads and ignore them at will--which is nice. It doesn't seem like the site is enslaved by its ads, like some of the local newspaper sites, (I've often had trouble locating the search bar under a mountain of ads on the Pioneer Press site). The font is big enough and spaced enough that each headline and the summary of the story is easily accessed by the viewer's eyes. One thing I find interesting about the setup of site is that they went with the blog format--the viewer does a lot of scrolling to see the front page. When MinnPost was created, I feel like this was something of a gamble, but now that so many people get their news from blogs and the Internet, it has probably become a non-issue. Consistent with its blog layout, the site relies more on blogs--the news cloaked in opinion--to deliver its wares. As long as readers understand this, I don't feel like it's an ethical concern, but if people think there aren't biases, they have a problem.  
            If I were in charge of MinnPost, I would keep the aesthetics. I would make it clearer when news items were written through the lens of opinion, however.

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This page contains a single entry by kaulx033 published on February 25, 2010 9:31 PM.

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