Analysis of multimedia content: Star Tribune and Huffington Post

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For this week's news analysis, I am going to look at the Huffington Post and the Star Tribune. These two news organizations' websites have similarities and differences in the way they incorporate multimedia content into their overall websites and individual stories.

Huffington Post definitely links its stories to images in a more obvious manner. The story that the Huffington Post staff finds most important is always accompanied by a giant image at the top of the page (with huge text, too), and as one scrolls down the page, he or she notices that every story is introduced with a picture and a headline. The picture is certainly the predominating feature; there may be only a few words to accompany it.

The Star Tribune accompanies its story teases with pictures, too, but not in the case of every story. Its "Latest News" section is text-only (in list format). If one scrolls further down the page, there are other stories accompanied by images, but the top half of the page is more text-heavy. The images are not quite as large as those that accompany the stories on the Huffington Post page.

For the majority of the stories that one clicks on via either the Star Tribune or Huffington Post site, the page looks the same: the article is accompanied by just one image. As far as photo albums go, the Star Tribune has a separate section, halfway down the homepage, that features photo galleries. The Huffington Post does not have a specific area in which photo galleries are featured, but it does set off this type of story with "PHOTOS: ____". The Star Tribune does a better job of guiding interested readers directly to the photo albums because of the way in which it groups them into their own section.

Both sites have a section for videos. For the Huffington Post, this is HuffPost Live, and for the Star Tribune, this is "Latest Videos." Both organizations feature this video section toward the top of the page.

The organization of these two news organizations' pages illustrates that they both fully recognize the importance of providing readers with visuals and engaging multimedia content. This goes beyond the original reader's capabilities with print media; the user could only read what was in front of him. But with photo albums, for example, the user is not passive, for he is required to actively press the arrows to scroll through different images. In the age of the Internet, graphics have become more and more important; people stray from blocks and blocks of text. I do think the Huffington Post page -- with its large photos for every story -- is a bit more aesthetically pleasing, although it is certainly a more feature-driven organization than the Star Tribune. The Star Tribune tends to focus on hard news, so it does not have the means to obtain strong visuals for everything. Sometimes, it relies on stock photos or does not have a photo to use with a story.

The most interesting recent addition to these news organizations' pages is certainly the videos, which they display prominently, signaling that they find this section important. This is a change that took place within this decade. A few years ago, print and video news were two separate entities, but the lines have been very blurred throughout the Internet's "takeover" of news. It is very clear that print news organizations are trying to become more engaging and versatile by incorporating videos to appease the auditory learner.

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This page contains a single entry by mill3877 published on October 28, 2012 11:45 PM.

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