CNN.com Case Study

CNN.com

What is your first impression of the site? Think of the “3 second rule.” (pg 31)

  • Catchy, red headlines (aesthetically pleasing)
  • Breaking news at top of the site
  • Concise, to the point

How does this site establish credibility? How does it establish trust? Or does it? (pg 28-29)

  • As CNN, we acknowledge its credibility by its reputation
  • Links to other site on other web pages regarding similar topics
  • It establishes trust by its reputation.
    • However, trust may be dependent upon political ideology of the reader
    • For example, a conservative may be more apt to trust Fox News, while a liberal would be skeptical of their “Fair and Balanced” news

Authentic voice?

  • Live TV playing
  • Updates in real time with the latest news
  • Plain English; concise writing

Genuine?

  • Factual news source

Transparency?

  • Many different choices for readers (U.S., World, Politics, Travel, etc.)
  • Fulfills expectations that a reader may have
  • Easy access to articles; easy to gather info

What is the general writing style?

Biased?

Objective?

  • While CNN certainly tries to make it as objective as possible, readers may argue that it is more liberal leaning than other publications.  Comparing the CNN site to Fox News’ site, CNN placed Obama on the front page, while Fox News identifies Syria as its main headline.

Does the writer IDENTIFY with his or her readers, or not? How (or why not)?

  • In a breaking news story regarding Syria, President Obama utilizes a similar situation of Iraq and Afghanistan by stating: “This is not Iraq, and this is not Afghanistan.”  CNN is wise to make this comparison to assuage its readers’ fears that more American soldiers will be put onto foreign territory.

Does the writing style get to the point?

  • Bullets points on main pages and story highlights
  • Articles are broken into sections with sub-headings to enable for easy reading
  • Place the most important information in the first paragraph, if not the first sentence

How is it arranged? Is it arranged in reverse pyramid style?

  • Arranged in reverse pyramid style, with most important information at the top of the page or article

Is content shaped for scanning? How is the content layered? (p 32)

  • Yes, it is shaped for scanning with its paragraph breakdown and bullet points
  • Utilizes bullet points, headings and sub-headings to create layered content

Is the tone or rhythm of the site consistent throughout?

  • Yes, the tone is consistently professional, factual, and concise

How does the site use headlines?

  • Uses quotations as majority of headlines
  • Headlines and sub-headlines within all articles
  • Catchy facts
  • Picture captions for Entertainment section

How does it use links? Effectively or not?

  • Links to related stories within articles
  • Links to videos
  • Links to other web pages (increasing credibility)
  • Effective in its use

How is multimedia used? Is it distracting? How is it displayed on the site? Does the multimedia tell the same story as the text, or a different side of the story?

  • Photos are provided at top of each story, however captions on long photo slideshows make it tempting to simply read captions for main story points
  • The multimedia tells the same story as the text, just using photos instead

How does the site “package” stories? (pg 36)

  • The site packages stories effectively with use of multimedia as well as text.  Many other photos and links are accessible within the article.

How are graphics used?

Too cluttered?

Are the graphics consistent through out the site, and consistent to the brand?

Do they encourage or discourage use, and how?

  • The graphics are simply, non-distracing.
  • Minimal design enables easy navigation
  • Consistency throughout entire site, such as the color red
  • They encourage use because people would have a positive experience on the site and return for more news

Can each page stand on its own?

  • Yes, each page maintains a search bar and tabs back to the home page or to other stories
  • Breaking news bar on every page

How is the navigation? Do you get lost? Do you always know where you are? How (or why not)?

  • Difficult to get lost, easy to find what you want
  • Clicking a tabs shows the title of that section on next page
  • For example, clicking on Justice shows CNN Justice on the following page

How does the site incorporate/interact with its audience? How does it embody the social aspect of the internet (or does it)?

  • Readers have the opportunity to comment on stories at the bottom of the page
  • Readers can link a story to their personal blog or Twitter account
  • iReport allows readers to contribute information to CNN
  • It embodies the social aspect of the internet because it encourages public discourse and allows for a conversation on a topic
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