If stories can be told by news organizations with photos, CBS News is the master of the short story. It is true, however, that pictures can be worth a thousand words. Thus, one extremely gripping photograph can in some cases be enough. Getting that one photograph can be quite difficult, though. And in times where that photograph hasn’t be taken, or wasn’t available to be taken, the CBS News one-photo model can be come quite boring.
When viewers first go to their page many photographs can be seen. On their cover they seem quite interesting, and certainly compelling enough to draw viewers into the larger stories. Normally the photos are beside links and quick captions to allow viewers easy decision making on whether or not to click the story. Once the story is clicked, however, new photos aren’t there to hold a viewers interest.
For example, this is what a viewer gets when they click on the feature story that can be seen in the above first screen shot. It is a larger version of exactly the same shot from the homepage. Granted, their is various linking to keep a viewers interest as well as a way to get to a video about the story, but the viewer has already seen this image once. Why not link to something else?
Now since the internet is virtually infinite in its storage space scope, news organizations still have the option to post other photos within the body of their stories. CBS News, however, chooses not to exercise this option.
The above is the text of the story about halfway into the body. No pictures. Not much linking. Nothing even in the sidebar to keep viewers interest. In fact, their really isn’t much on the pages of the stories themselves once viewers get to them. All of this makes it fairly difficult for the organization to maintain viewer interest.
Granted, CBS does have an entire section of their website devoted to photo galleries. These stories, however, are largely feature stories and have little to no photo news value, as can be seen below.
Even in sections like sports that lend themselves very well to photo galleries, CBS News still utilizes the one photo option. In conclusion, while CBS may manage a lot of content on their website, most of it is not photo related. Thus, their integration of this useful medium could be upgraded as they move forward in this web journalism era.
This week CBS News has thoroughly impressed me. Storyboarding is a fairly new concept to the news world, and its application to the web seems like the most seamless of fits. Their ability to integrate in-story hyperlinks, sidebar information, and videos creates a easy to navigate, informative news consuming atmosphere.
Once a story is clicked on, the same type features can be utilized at the story specific level. Links to story related content, videos, and other features can be easily accessed.
The pages also allow viewers easy access to other things happening in the world through CBS stories. Simply put, CBS News integrates most, if not all, of the technologically advanced options the internet has to offer to the generic news consumer.
I firmly believe that blogging has a negative impact on the news by watering down what is actually newsworthy, filling space with what isn’t, and blurring the lines between political commentary and political news. They say pictures are worth a thousand words. So instead of just telling you how I feel, I decided to show you what CBS News‘ four main blogs, Political Hotsheet, Crimesider, HealthPop, and Investigates, are showing on their home pages.
First up is Political Hotsheet. In class we discussed the potential for blogging to act as a supplement to news related content. I, however, feel that it allows us to selectively supplement our news consumption. This ultimately decreases well-rounded views because people choose to read blogs that they agree with.
So the trouble with this page is two fold. At the top there is a bar of blog entries that the webpage is featuring. The first, even in its title, indicates that the blogger is writing an article predicting rhetoric increasing in congress. The third is an article speculating on something Romney thinks. Here is a big problem, why not just ask Romney how he feels instead of speculating. The first article in the feed of the blog itself is one speculating on Rick Perry’s potential in Iowa. Now granted, everyone is entitled to their opinion. And I, in fact, encourage everyone to voice it. However, posting it on CBS News’ website clearly blurs the lines of what is actual news and what is more rhetoric coming from the media.
The second blog, Crimesider, is proof that blogs are making every attempt that they can to fill the seemingly infinite internet spectrum with things that don’t matter.
The middle article of the feature section is one calling at “Religious leaders,” and questioning their salvation. Really? All of them are in trouble? Or just the ones that have committed transgressions. No articles on the ones doing good work, though. The second is Casey Anthony person photos. I didn’t know crime-reporting blogs act as tabloids. I’ll be honest, though, I think “Most outrageous mug shots” certainly has a place on the internet. I’m just not sure it should be on CBS News’ crimeblog.
Once you scroll down, Crimesider, the need for reporting unimportant crimes seems to heighten. Sex with rafts and shooting cats somehow trumps all of the information on meth related crimes increasing, gun problems in the northeastern US, and the US lawsuit against many major banks. And if you look in the sidebar, you see links to the most popular news stories on CBS right now. But don’t worry, they are clear on making distinctions between news and blogs…
Third we find Healthpop. Health related blogs can definitely be quite depressing at times. This one, however, seems to want to discuss the less serious side of health.
Finally, we have CBS’ Investigates. I have no real complaints about this blog. It seems that they are actually doing investigation and reporting on what they find. So much, in fact, that some of the blogs posts are quite boring to read. Almost Reuters’ article like.
CBS does have many blogs in addition to these featured four. Each of their blogs do have RSS feed subscriptions, as well as Facebook and Twitter integration. They can also be commented on. Unfortunately, CBS has seemed to make no attempt at blogging with user submitted content (like CNN’s iReport).
Overall, CBS News’ blogging does a good job confirming the concerns that I have about online blogging through news organizations. They also, highlight some of the high points, as well.
This geopolitical and economic climate is probably the most tumultuous in history. Combine that with interesting, newsworthy things happening in the actual weather climate, and you have plenty of stories noteworthy enough to make the front page of an news organizations homepage. Unlike newspapers who are limited in space, web pages have the ability to put many pages on the first page, and alter in a minutes notice.
CBS News, however, seems to have lost all sense of prioritizing all together. There homepage looks as if they have to cover everything imaginable on that one page. The top 1/8 of the page looks fairly organized, like most other news organization web pages. It contains links to all of the major sections of their online paper, a search bar, links to news related station-owned programs, and a search bar.
Upon scrolling down, the page becomes much more content-filled. The links are well named, fairly organized, and can be clicked to take the user to the articles or other forms of content. Unfortunately, it seems as if CBS is trying to force too much into one page. This makes it difficult to sort through the large amount of content, and it can be distracting from important stories the page has to offer.
The website does do a good job of incorporating of Vadim Lavrusik’s Key Building Block of Participation into their webpage. The page allows for Tweeting, Facebooking, commenting, and various other interactions with their content.
The website also does a very good job of indicating breaking news at the beginning of the page. Overall, for the lazy, general news observer CBS News is a one-stop-shop for consuming media, news-related content.