With the rapid development of new media technologies, new opportunities are provided for print journalists to create online news stories in multimedia formats (Franklin, 2013). Different from traditional journalism, online journalism shows new features for telling stories. This article analyses and compares two online news story. One of the news stories is from the BBC News and the other one is from the Huffington Post Australia.
News Story 1: Big Bang: K-pop star quits showbiz amid ‘sex bribery’ claims (BBC News)
BBC News and Audience Demographics
The BBC News is a department of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). As a world’s leading public service broadcaster, the BBC is established by a Royal Charter and is funded by the licence fee paid by UK households (At A Glance, BBC). The BBC is founded in December 1926 and is regulated by the Office of Communications (Ofcom) which is the broadcasting, telecommunications and postal regulatory body in the UK (BBC Structure, BBC). The BBC News has experienced a great change over the past 20 years and the number of monthly page viewers has increased dramatically from 1997 to 2017 (BBC News, 2017). The BBC News provides national and international news with a variety of ranges in politics, business, technology and science, health, and entertainment and arts.
According to the Alexa, the top three countries where this website’s visitors are located are the United States, the United Kingdom and the Japan, occupying 22%, 8.9% and 6.6% respectively. The BBC New has more male audiences than female audiences and audiences form graduate schools are over-represented for this site. The majority of the visitors acquire an above-average income. In terms of the age, the BBC New is more popular among people age 35 and above, and the site is seemed to be less attractive for young people.
This story is written in the third person and the story content is consistent with facts. As a news form the international mainstream online news site, this news is written with accurate grammar, vocabulary and sentence. With clear and direct language, the news is easy to understand. The headline of this story is attractive and is able to appeal readers to read in depth. Subheadings are used to structure the news story. Considering the audience demographics for the BBC News, readers may be unfamiliar with this Korean pop star and his band. The links with the introduction of Seungri and the band Big Bang are needed. The BBC does not allow the links to external article sources, and the current internal sources cover little content about Seungri and Big Bang. The links to the Big Bang official Facebook Account and the official website (Google Chrome can translate the website into English) may be helpful for readers to know more about this band. The biography and information of Seungri and Big Bang can easily be found by searching the Wikipedia as well.
Hypertextuality is one of the main features of online journalism. Hypertext refers to a computer-based non-linear group of multimedia contents that are connected with hyperlinks (De Maeyer, 2012). Although the embedded and related story links in this news is not highly relevant to this news story, they are essential for the site to drive traffics and attract users. The hypertext showing below is linked to another news story related to another member of the band, but the chosen hypertext seems to be too long. The link could be embedded with a key word phrase, such as ‘a deluge of supportive letters’.
In regard to the multimediality, the images of Seungri and Big Bang are attractive, but may be added some latest pictures of Seungri this scandal. The examples below are images embedded in similar online articles. The photos below display the most recent Seungri’s press conference that he responded to the scandal and accusations.
The news story contains the links to the Seungri’s Instagram statement, this statement could be embedded in the article. A translated version of this statement could be embedded in the article as well, helping audiences to understand.
This story includes a video which is not highly related to the issue but for attraction. The video for the most recent Seungri’s press conference would be useful to be embedded. The comparative news story from the Huffington Post Australia contains an example for the video. Other examples can be found on the YouTube.
In terms of the interactivity, this story is allowed to share to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn and to share by email and the Facebook Messenger. This page lacks the link to the author details of this news story.
The functionality and usability which illustrate the technical issues and the interaction between users and the system are closely linked with the user experience and satisfaction (McNamara & Kirakowski, 2006). In related to the functionality, the links in the story all work well and the multimedia contents can be operated easily. With a relatively high-level of usability, the interface of the site is easy for navigation and legibility.
News Story 2: K-Pop Star Seungri Quits Amid Prostitution Scandal (Huffington Post Australia)
Huffington Post Australia and Audience Demographics
The Huffington Post Australia is the Australian edition of the Huffington Post. Huffington Post is an original Internet online publication site established in 2005 and currently has set up newsrooms and editions in 16 countries (About Us, Huffington Post). Huffington Post provides a correction function at the end of the article so that the audiences are able to help correct the misstatements or typographical errors (About Us, Huffington Post). The pictures below show how the correction function works.
As an Australian edition of Huffington Post, the Alexa shows that half of the audiences for this site are from Australia and 20.2% of the audiences are from the United States. Different from the BBC News, the majority of the readers are female and male readers are under-represented for this website. Similar to the BBC News, Huffington Post Australia seems to be less attractive for young people, but is popular among people between 45-54 and the elder over 65. The audiences for this site are able to maintain a high-level of annual income.
This story is short, accurate and fair in reporting. The language is simple, direct and clear. Comparing to the story from the BBC News, this news maintains a relatively high-level of brevity. The headline is clear and appealing. This story lacks direct quotes and the words are written with indirect quotes. Some indirect quotes could be changed into direct quotes so that the story would be more readable and scannable. To increase the readability, some paragraphs could be broken up into different sections. Similar to the BBC news story, this story lacks a brief introduction for Seungri and Big Bang. These details could be written in texts or linked to external sources.
The story contains hyperlinks in key word phrases, suggested similar topic articles link at the bottom and attention for other contents on this website. Different from the BBC News, the links inside the text include connections with both the internal sources and external sources. With the external sources, Audiences can gain more useful information and a more comprehensive understanding of the scandal. This news can link to the Instagram statement, which is the same as the BBC news story. This news embeds a translated Instagram statement, but the story also needs an original Instagram statement embedded.
Multimediality is a convergence and divergence of different media formats and enables the users to incorporate and understand the contents in several ways (Deuze, 2001). This story includes an edited video of the Seungri’s press conference, which is relevant to the scandal and attractive. However, this news lacks images. The images of Seungri and Big Bang could be embedded, such as the images provided in the BBC news story. The latest images for Seungri and photos of the Seungri’s press conference could also be added and could select the appropriate and attractive one as a top image, setting the video at the bottom or through the proper section in the texts.
In regard to other forms of interactivity, this news story similar to the BBC News, can be shared to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Flipboard and can share by the email. Different form the BBC News, the author of this news is public and the audience can connect to other articles written by the author. A brief introduction or profile of the author could be linked and included to show the author’s credibility. The correction function and the subscription can also enhance the interactivity.
The functionality of the web is well-accessed as the links and navigation all work well and the videos can be played. In terms of the usability, the interface design is user-centred and users can easily access the various contents of this web page without extra times for learning and adapting.
Comparing the news story from the mainstream online news service BBC and the news story from the digital born news service, both of them contains strengths and weaknesses. They both display appropriate functionality and usability. With the suggested correction function and subscription, the news story for Huffington Post Australia maintain a high interactivity. The BBC news story tends to be written with a more professional journalistic format, language and structure. In related to multimediality, although the BBC news story lacks more relevant images, videos or useful external sources, it develops the content with multimedia forms.
(Word Count: 1586 words comparative journalism analysis + 203 words blog post)
‘About Us’, Huffington Post. (2019). Retrieved 28th March 2019 from: https://www.huffpost.com/static/about-us
‘At a Glance’, BBC. (2019). Retrieved 27th March 2019 from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/corporate2/insidethebbc/whoweare/ataglance
BBC News, 2017. How the BBC News website has changed over the past 20 years. Retrieved 27th March 2019 from: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-41890165
‘BBC Structure’, BBC. (2019). Retrieved 27th March 2019 from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/insidethebbc/managementstructure/bbcstructure
De Maeyer, J. (2012). The journalistic hyperlink: Prescriptive discourses about linking in online news. Journalism Practice, 6(5-6), 692-701.
Deuze, M. (2001). Online journalism: Modelling the first generation of news media on the World Wide Web. First Monday, 6(10).
Franklin, B. (2013). Introduction: Journalism and Change. The future of journalism (1), 1-5. Routledge.
McNamara, N., & Kirakowski, J. (2006). Functionality, usability, and user experience. Interactions, 13(6), 26-28.