Online journalism has got a big change with digital improvement and constant competition in this attention economy age (Bradshaw, 2018, p.8-9, Lantz, 2017).
The purpose of this article is to compare two online news pieces on NASA cancelled all-woman spacewalk from the digital born service VICE and the traditional media agency Vogue, so as to analyse the methods creating more valuable web writing.
Biography of The Publication
The well-known fashion magazine Vogue, launched in 1892 in the United States, is currently owned and distributed by the publisher Condé Nast. The Vogue UK began as the first international edition of the brand of Vogue in 1916 (Condé Nast Russia, n.d.).
In recent years, this publication and its products have been restructured toward the new editorial direction and had made certain impacts since the British Vogue’s first black male editor-in-chief Edward Enninful took the helm in December 2017 (Vogue UK, 2019). Based on their media kit 2019 (Vogue UK, 2019), Vogue UK achieved a major “milestone” which is obtaining over 3 million monthly unique users for their online journalism in July last year.
Meanwhile, the #newvogue business model also contributed to 50% of the overall digital revenue of British Vogue that leads the year 2018 has become “financially the most successful in vogue.co.uk’s 30-year history” (Vogue UK, 2019).
Based on the traffic statistics from Alexa.com (2019), female readers account for the vast majority of the mentioned 3 million Vogue UK’s online audiences with an average age of 35 (Vogue UK, 2019). The portrait of the main audiences would then be the high-income females with graduate degrees and without children, and they normally browse Vogue UK website during work.
Dissimilar to the traditional media services, Vice is only 25 years old. Founded in 1994, Vice Media is a digital-born media services originating from Montreal, Canada and currently based in New York (Bazilian, 2014). According to the press Adweek, Vice Media is a “unique” company which efficiently discovered the significant meeting point of three success elements including excellent journalism, positive revenue and the millennial attention (Bazilian, 2014). Moreover, Vice Media was valued at around $2.5 to $2.7 billion at the end of 2018, and that figure was even as high as $5.7 billion in 2015 (“The Biggest Brand in Digital Media Has Lost Much of Its Lustre”, 2018).
Including Vice news we are going to analyse, there are a total of 15 online brands for different cultures from Vice, such as i-D for fashion and noisey for music (Vice, 2019).
Vice aims to “empower young people”, and it targets 18-35 years old people visiting their online journalism and other productions (Vice, 2019). Higher than Vogue UK, the amount of Vice’s online users per month is 45.6 million (Vice, 2019). The data of Vices’ media kit showed a relatively balanced gender ratio, which is 60:40 male to female. The education level is similar to the British Vogue’s, 78% of the Vice readers are highly educated and 55% works full time (Vice, 2019).
Journalistic Content Analysis
In addition to the latest fashion and celebrity news as usual, the website of Vogue UK focuses on the culture review as well, especially the topic is relevant to women, and the chosen online delivery for this article is an example for this.
According to the survey on 100 million headlines of the online deliveries, “this is why” is the second most engaging one which user would like to interact and connect with on Facebook (Rayson, 2017).
The headline of Vogue UK’s article was smartly brought by a “Why” question, which would excite audiences’ curiosity and “make a promise about what you’ll gain” through reading this explainer article (Rayson, 2017).
Moreover, this news piece correctly applied the inverted triangle narrative way. The writer Susan Devaney provided the least important background information until the last paragraph of the article.
However, the lead sentence of it, that “Earlier this month it was announced that the first all-female spacewalk would take place on March 29, 35 years after the first woman ever took part in one” is need to be revised. Based on the Conley & Lamble’s (2006) chapter, the lead sentence should employ the active voice rather than the passive one.
Also, journalists need to make sure the most important information always be written at the very beginning. Thus, it would be acceptable if the first sentence is written as “NASA announced the cancellation on the first all-female spacewalk plan this Monday.”
Unlike the other normal stories with the related reading links below, there are two related feminism story links are inserted through. Besides, it also inserts two pieces of advertisement as well as the embedded Instagram post of @sciencechannel and the twitter post of the female astronaut @Anne McClain between paragraphs. Bradshaw (2018, p.82) indicates that supportive multimedia improves the interactive of online delivery. However, those media except the posts are ineffective and even affect the scannability.
Embedded hyperlinks improve the interactivity as well, while there is only one hyperlink in this 320-word news (Bradshaw, 2018).
Furthermore, as for search engine optimisation (SEO) and traffic increasing, this piece of the story can create some functional and trending tags below, such as “NASA”, “gender gap”, “spacewalk” and “all female” so as to be searched within the whole web scale.
In terms of the headline of this Vice story, the author Carter Sherman wrote it in an attractive and humorous method rather than the way of previous mentioned engaging headline phrases.
And this Vice headline with personalization target young people that is indeed one of the “survival skills” within the attention economy context. Tailored content for specific audiences assists to create more value in online journalism practice, whereas, the generic content and headline would be less valuable and be consumed in a short period (Lantz, 2017).
Comparing to the news story of Vogue UK, this piece is more professional as an online delivery. This Sherman’s article focuses on the ill-fitting space suits as the news angle that is consistent with the key point of the headline.
After primarily quote the press release’s official announcement, Sherman directly quotes the NASA spokesperson so as to further explain the future plan that all-female spacewalk would definitely happen. Those accurate official sources offer the credibility for this piece of breaking news so that the media trust would easier to be built.
As for the interactivity of the content production compared with the news of Vogue UK, Vice story insert one @NASA’s official twitter post, and one random content advertisement in the text, and the related readings and the rest of the advertisement are all placed below the whole story.
The news of Vice creates more effective hyperlinks that improve both the interactivity and scannability of the article (Bradshaw, 2018, p.80-81), such as linking the source from National Public Radio in 2006 to explain that NASA lack spacesuits are due to previous budget shortfalls.
Although the embedded hyperlinks are more effective than Vogue’s story, the lacked use of tags is the problem in this piece as well.
Online Delivery Analysis
Conversation is described as the “lifeblood” for web writing by Bradshaw (2018, p.82) Not only the referred hyperlinks and embedded multimedia, but also the interactive features on the users’ interface enhance storytelling.
Besides the usual routes of share buttons like Vice creating like Twitter, Facebook and email, the Vogue’s news has one more for sharing by Pinterest, that is an appropriate platform for linking Vogue’s readers link with creative industry.
However, neither two pieces have the features for replying or emailing to the writers, and there are no bio details of two writers in the linked pages, only the stories they have written for Vice or British Vogue previously. This absence would limit the audiences’ engagements and block the connects with the community in a certain degree, since user generate sufficient interactive content with three parts of systems, creator or other users (Bradshaw, 2018, p.82).
As stated by the audience research analytics tools, SimilarWeb (2019), the main sources of traffic of two websites show the difference between the two websites. Most audiences directly search to read British Vogue’s web content while Vice’s traffic is mainly gained via the social method.
The respective functionalities between these two pieces of globally accessible news are very different from each other. Overall, the two online deliveries, however, from the large media agencies are high usability.
Both of them are easy to navigate with stable servers, legible text, and easily playable multimedia content. In particular for the Vice News one, without the mentioned inserted related reading, it would be easier to scan for setting links to open in new tabs.
To conclude, this article has compared the breaking news on NASA cancelled all woman spacewalk respectively from the young-people focused Vice News and the female publication Vogue UK. Vice still has more experienced web writing skill than the fashion-focused Vogue through the analysing and comparing above, such as the correct news format, effective embedded links and related stories.
However, both of the two online deliveries need to improve the aspects of interactivity, multimediality, scannability in varying degrees so as to enhance their user engagement and create value in this attention economy era.
(Word Count: 1570)
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Bradshaw, P. (2018). The online journalism handbook: skills to survive and thrive in the digital age (Second edition.). London, [England];: Routledge.
Condé Nast Russia (n.d.). History of Vogue. Retrieved from https://www.condenast.ru/en/portfolio/magazines/vogue/history/
Conley, D., & Lamble, S. (2006). ‘The lead: will the reader follow? In The Daily Miracle: An Introduction to Journalism (3rd ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
Devaney, S. (2019, March 27). Why NASA Has Cancelled Its First All-Female Spacewalk. Vogue UK. Retrieved from https://www.vogue.co.uk/article/nasa-all-female-spacewalk-2019
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Rayson, S. (2017, June 26). We Analyzed 100 Million Headlines. Here’s What We Learned (New Research). Retrieved from https://buzzsumo.com/blog/most-shared-headlines-study/
Sherman, C. (2019, March 27). It’s apparently easier to send a man into space than to make enough space suits to fit 2 women. Vice News. Retrieved from https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/d3mb7w/nasa-just-cancelled-the-first-all-female-spacewalk-for-a-super-depressing-reason
SimilarWeb. (2019). Website Analysis Overview Report: news.vice.com&vogue.co.uk. Retrieved March 29, 2019, from https://www.similarweb.com/website/news.vice.com?competitors=vogue.co.uk
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Vice. (n.d.). VICE Media kit. Retrieved from https://kit.vice.com/
Vogue UK. (2019). Vogue media kit 2019. Retrieved from https://cnda.condenast.co.uk/static/mediapack/vg_media_pack_latest.pdf