Cambridge Analytica report——Washington Post or Huffington Post

The Comparative Journal Analysis of Washington Post and Huffington Post on The Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Introduction

The Cambridge Analytica is a data company profit from political and commercial marketing activities that were exposed to steal a lot of Facebook users’ privacy. Recently, this scandal has frequently occupied the front page of news platforms. This article will compare The Washington Post and Huffington Post to this news report and analyze it from the perspectives of user analysis, brand biography, and online delivery etc.

Biographical survey and user analysis 

The Washington Post

141 years ago a Democratic Journalist, Stilson Hutchins gave the Washington Post ‘life’. Since 1880, they have become the first media to publish daily newspapers in Washington, DC and continue to this day (Petula Dvorak, 2017). This American newspaper is known for exposing the U.S. political events and has been disclosed in Pentagon secret documents and Watergate scandal etc. Today, its owner is Jeff Bezos, the founder, and CEO of Amazon.

Screenshot of the Washington Post audience index

A media kit of The Washington Post 2017 annual market report review that it reached ‘more than 82 million digital unique visitors per month’. Mobile unique visitors are the highest index.

 

The total number of the internet users who accessed to the washington.com are 1,670,000 with 48% women and 52% man. Among them, the largest proportion of readers are aged 25-34 (24%). The second is users with ages between 35 and 44 (23%).

Screenshot of the Washington Post media kit

It can be seen that the Washington Post mobile readers are mostly middle-aged, with an average of 25 to 54 years old, mostly whites, with a high level of education and higher income.

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post was co-established by Arianna Huffington in the United States in 2005. As a commercial digital born media, it had won the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 which is considered as a historical point in the news industry (Bell, 2018)The Huffington Post, which was based on press releases and blog reviews early in its creation, was considered to be the political commentary for linksliberalismus. In 2011, the newspaper was acquired by American Online (AOL Agrees To Acquire The Huffington Post, 2018).

Screenshot of the Huffington Post media kit

According to the HuffPost Australia media kit (2015), the audience of this platform is 3,000,000 people/month with 54% of female and 46% male. The user education level appears medium, and the main consumer is grocery buyers. Moreover, the data shows that the proportion of the employed audience of this media platform is not high, only 61% and with 13% uncertainty sliding scale.

Screenshot of the Huffington Post media kit

Story comparison

The author chooses an online article on March 23 this year about how Cambridge Analytical Corp. intervene the U.S. politics from The Washington Post as the first story. The second story is the same theme post on the same week from the digital news media

Screenshot of the Huffpost story on Washington Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the perspective of content production, first, the Washington Post article does not conform to the ‘brevity’ principles from the Bradshaw theory. The article has a total of more than 1300 words. As an online article, it can be considered as a long story. Also, the entire article uses only one picture as an auxiliary description. It is too monotonous. In contrast, there are six advertisement pictures in the center of the content. Even if advertising is a profitable model for content producers, and it’s easy to slide past, but this is not a good user experience for the audience. This is not in line with the ‘Scannability’ principle of the ‘BASIC’ rules (Bradshaw et, al. 2017:73): ‘Breaking up text with images galleries, charts, video, audio, maps and other embedded media’. Since the title of this news focus on how this company broke into America political market, so the publisher of this article could put more images related to the U.S. politics such as the portrait of president Trump or a portrait of the newly appointed national security adviser John Bolton who mentioned in the first paragraph of this article.

 

Secondly, although there are some indented quotes in this news which is accord with the Bradshaw ‘BASIC’ rules, all of this links are at the bottom of the article, you have to roll down and see it. Add some highlight hyperlinks which are introduced the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook incident could help the reader who doesn’t know this news quickly understand the article. Also, there is no any subtitle in this article. Using subtitle can help readers overview the entire article and choose their interesting part to read. In addition, the ‘Scannability’ principle emphasis it is important to use a subheading in an online story. For example, the article could write some subheadings such as ‘What is the relationship between Cambridge Analytica and Facebook’ and the context like this screenshot below could put in the chunking under these subtitles.

The Huffington Post article is more concise and appealing in content expression and text structure.

 

Screenshot of the HuffPost story on the website

First of all, the HuffPost article complies with all the ‘BASIC’ principles with subheading in each chunking, a clear summary below the main heading. Also, the publisher put many highlight hyperlinks to help readers retrieve other relevant articles and important information. Moreover, this article shows the multimedia characteristic. In the beginning, there is an introduction video which can attract more visitors. Furthermore, in each paragraph, there are content-related pictures that break the context and more attractive.

 

From the perspective of online delivery, both sites have social interactive features like forward to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… but the Washington Post support user comments at the very end of the article which is revealed the user-generated content opinion. In the meantime, the interactive features on the Washington Post are more than the Huffington Post which also approves quickly print. These convenient features can be considered as meeting the theoretical requirements of the adaptability feature: “allow users to embed or download it” (Bradshaw et, al. 2017).

 

From the perspective of technical delivery, When you narrow down the Huffington Post‘s web page, you will find that no matter how you scroll the web page, there will always be a row of social app contact method presented at the bottom of the page. When the page is normally zoomed in, these interactive features are once again in the left margin of the page.

Surprisingly, it is also possible to open the content of the Huffington Post in Chinese social app WeChat and the text structure is more suitable for mobile reading.

Screenshot of the HuffPost story on Wechat

The location of the interactive features designed like the narrow windows, still at the end of the page. All of the hyperlinks are also available.It is also available for open the article on safari.

Screenshot of the HuffPost story on Safari

 

Compare with the HuffPost, because of the lack of good layouts such as pictures and subtitles, the Washington article looks unpretentious when reading on a mobile phone.

Screenshot of the Washington Post story on Safari

 

Because the screen size of the mobile phone limits the page size of the web text reading, reading the news on the mobile phone can easily give people that the words are very small and intensive feeling. Most people today are mobile platform readers and the fast-paced lifestyle does not allow us to spend too much time on one story. Therefore, this Washington Post article demonstrates a very deadly text structure. When you use your mobile phone to flip down the Washington Post story, you will only be eye-catching by constantly appearing ads. Advertising is very important, however, ‘content is king’, the highly attractive content is the core for news producers. One thing worth mentioning is that the Washington Post has its own app, users could download it from the app store for free.

 

Screenshot of the Washington Post story on the Washington Post app

 

You can search this article in the Washington Post app, different with the website and safari text structure, the publisher changes the front page picture to another one.But behind it is still a long text. Unfortunately, unlike the web version, I can’t find a place to comment this story.

 

Conclusion

In general, the layout of Huffington Post one is very much in line with the web writing theory. The rendering effect on the mobile phone is much better than the Washington Post one. However, the Washington Post story still has its merits. For instance, if you can really read it with patience, the reporting angle of the Washington Post one is very much in the eyes of its readers in the Washington area. Compare with the Washington Post article, the contents of the Huffington Post news appear little bit superficial.

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References

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Bradshaw, P., & Rohumaa, L. (2017). The online journalism handbook : skills to survive and thrive in the digital age. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy1.library.usyd.edu.au

Bell, E. (2018). Huffington Post’s Pulitzer prize win marks a turning point for journalism. the Guardian. Retrieved 13 April 2018, from https://www.theguardian.com/media/2012/apr/22/huffington-post-pulitzer-prize

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Lee, M., Timberg, C., Lee, M. and Timberg, C. (2018). How Cambridge Analytica broke into the U.S. political market through Mercer-allied conservative groups.Washington Post. Retrieved April 12, from

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-cambridge-analytica-broke-into-the-us-political-market-through-mercer-allied-conservative-groups/2018/03/23/141adba8-2ead-11e8-b0b0-f706877db618_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.aa597ac8b18b

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What You Need To Know About Cambridge Analytica And Facebook. (2018). HuffPost Australia. Retrieved 12 April 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2018/03/21/what-you-need-to-know-about-cambridge-analytica-and-facebook_a_23391116/?utm_hp_ref=au-homepage

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Xutong Ma
About Xutong Ma 4 Articles
Hi, I am a Chinese media student. I am studying at the Sydney Uni and my major is Master of Digital Communication and Culture. I used to be a reporter, host and voice actor in China. If you are interested in me, please find me via email: xuma4432@sydney.edu.au or Instagram: kkkrystal.s

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