This analysis is based on the background of the Ethiopian Airlines crash, a catastrophic event that has caused heated discussion recently. I select the hot topic about the only survivor to compare the mainstream online news publication with a digital born service.
Publishing Context—–the ABC Online
The Australian Broadcasting Commission (the ABC), established on 1 July,1932, was originally operated by the government and the operating funds mainly rely on licensing fees and government financial support (the ABC, n.d.). As the major public broadcaster, ABC has the largest daily investigative news team in Australia and one of the largest rural reporting teams in the world. Meanwhile, the ABC employs 4,939 people to run its operations (the ABC, 2018). The ABC Online is mainly divided into five branches (the ABC, 2018). In terms of news publishing platform, according to the ABC 2018 annual report, increased Numbers of the audience access to information by mobile phones, in addition to its own software release to publish news, the third-party platform of digital news also has a certain growth, such as the number of readers to read ABC news on the Apple News platform in 2018 reached 2.4 million a month in July (the ABC, 2018).
As a news broadcaster with high audience expectations, the ABC could reach nearly 99.58% of the population (the ABC,2018). As for the user groups, the Alexa points out a rough statistical result, the number of female readers more than that of male readers. At the same time, in the age groups of users, since the age of 18, the number of people reading news increases with age. It can be seen that people over 35 years old are the main audiences of ABC news.
News story 1: Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 passenger shocked to learn of crash after missing boarding by minutes (The ABC news online)
Objective and accurate content
The news story comes from the Associated Press (AP), a non-profit news organization funded by five newspapers in New York City (the AP, n.d.). The Associated Press claims to set industry standards for journalistic ethics (the AP, n.d.). Hence, it could be guaranteed that there’s no personal thought involved. At the same time, the full article combines the interview content of the survivor and the narrative with the third person, based on the facts reported in detail.
The journalists balanced the integrity of the facts with the fluency of the story in writing the story. At the beginning of the article, the author directly narrates the event instead of using too many words to introduce the story background of the Ethiopian Airlines crash. To a certain extent, the readers who read the news from the news of the crash avoid the negative feeling of repeated reading. At the same time, the relevant news links set in the sidebar also help readers who do not know the background to read the news without barriers.
In terms of the experience of news reading, the ABC online really does a good job in news layout. On the one hand, the length of a news article is not too long, which makes it easier for readers to read. In a proper position, by amplifying the words about the emotions expressed by the only survivor, news can be endowed with the ability to drive the emotions of readers. More importantly, the objectivity of news has not been changed. On the other hand, the key point part added in this article can also provide readers with faster and more accurate news access services. Moreover, there is basically no advertising to interfere with the reader’s reading experience.
About the accuracy of the news, the Associated Press by using a set of standards and practices to protect the AP story is not affected by the prejudice and inaccurate, both in pictures or audio, and in the process of reporting incidents, the handling of some emergencies such as anonymous messages and the authenticity of the identity of the reporters are strictly regulated (the AP, n.d.).
Hypertextuality, Multimediality and Interactivity
This text contains hyperlinks, mainly in the mention of the Ethiopian Airlines crash text added hyperlinks to the designated news. Moreover, the definition of hypertextuality is not limited to the insertion of links in the text of this article. It can be called hypertextuality as long as the news and relevant information can be connected online (Bradshaw, 2018). Therefore, in this text, the recommended reading part also constitutes the hyperlink attribute of this news.
The ABC Online has made a lot of efforts in the multimedia aspect of news, which is not limited to the use of a single medium, but an appropriate integration. For example, in the report of this news, in addition to the simple text description, video and pictures which are language-free and could convey credibility, is helpful to deepen understanding and cognition of readers.
This text did not open the comments section which is the most common interactive platform, but according to Bradshaw (2018), The most basic way to achieve interactivity is that the audience can get information by clicking on the link, At the same time, by using multimedia methods such as embedding images and videos in the text to help readers follow up on news, it can also be defined as an interaction with readers. Therefore, the interactivity of the news published by the ABC Online is mainly based on the hyperlink and multimedia.
Buzzfeed, as an independent digital media company, owns a global news organization based in New York and an entertainment studio based in Los Angeles, with 18 offices around the world and until now, Buzzfeed has already employed 1300 empolyees (the Buzzfeed, n.d.). The Buzzfeed is primarily funded by five New York companies (Crunchbase, 2019) and online posts make up the bulk of its business income and the BuzzFeed plans to generate revenue from advertising (Bloomberg News, 2018).
According to Buzzfeed’s website, Buzzfeed’s audience is not limited to the United States, but the entire world. The figure from the Alexa, Buzzfeed’s readership is predominantly female and the users group is mainly in the 18-34 age range.
News story 2: A Man Says A Series Of Events Caused Him To Miss The Ethiopian Airlines Flight That Crashed By Mere Minutes. (the Buzzfeed)
The writer of this article is a reporter for BuzzFeed News, not a news agency, so it is not as objective and impartial as what the ABC Online reported. By browsing most of her reports, it can be found that the author mainly reports social and political news, which to some extent proves that the author has some experience in reporting such topics. Unlike the AP, which is a syndicated news organization, this individual writing style relies on individual habits. AP news coverage is more direct and concise, while the Buzzfeed report, the first two paragraphs of which are basically a slight expansion of the article title, does not directly start the story of the event, in other words, the content has a high degree of repetition.
Buzzfeed’s fragmented advertising layout negatively impacted the reading experience of its readers. In total, there were nine ads in this text, which was in sharp contrast to ABC’s advertising insertion.
Low degree of hypertuality and multimediality
In this Buzzfeed report, there are three hyperlinks in total. The first one is the page link of the Facebook screenshot (in Greek) inserted for the text, which is also a Greek page when clicked. As a news published on the English-language news platform, the English readers’ acceptance of this kind of links is very low. The other two, the web page of a Greek local television station and the rock and roll page of a singer quoted in the article, were both of very low relevance to the story. In addition to the hyperlinks inside the article, Buzzfeed only provided a relevant report link, which is difficult for readers without background knowledge of the event to follow up the article. According to the definition of multimedia (Ray, 2006), there are at least two media, but there are only pictures in this text, and one of them is in Greek. As a journalist, if there are letters in different languages in the image, it can be translated by translation software such as Google translation before the use of the image (Barot, 2014).
In terms of interactivity, buzzfeed sets up the comment area, which is the most effective interaction mode of buzzfeed. Moreover, Buzzfeed sets up two channels of twitter and Facebook for readers to share, which deepened the interactivity of Buzzfeed to some extent.
There are a lot of difference between the Buzzfeed and the ABC online, especially in the aspect of news service, such as the accuracy of the article, layout is concise and richness of content (insert related news link). Therefore, as an independent network media company, it is necessary to provide readers with more complete news based on the characteristics of personal style and commercialization.
Associated Press. (n.d.). TELLING THE STORY. Retrieved from https://www.ap.org/about/news-values-and-principles/telling-the-story/
Barot, T. (2014). Verifying Images. In C. Silverman & M. Perlman (Eds.), Verification Handbook (p. 4000). European Journalism Centre.
Bloomberg News. (2018). BuzzFeed looks to commerce and advertising for new sources of revenue. Retrieved from https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2018/11/16/buzzfeed-looks-to-commerce-for-new-sources-of-revenue/
Bradshaw, P. (2018). Writing for the Web. In The Online Journalism Handbook: Skills to survive and thrive in the digital age (pp. 72–98). Routledge.
Buzzfeed. (n.d.). About Buzzfeed. Retrieved from https://www.buzzfeed.com/about?country=en-au
Crunchbase. (2019). Buzzfeed Investors. Retrieved from https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/buzzfeed/investors/investors_list#section-investors
Ray, T. (2006). Multimediality, Interactivity and Hypertextuality. Online Journalism, 34-59. doi: 10.1017/upo9788175968622.005
The Alexa. (2019). abc.net.au Traffic Statisitics. Retrieved from https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/abc.net.au#?sites=abc.net.au
The Alexa. (2019). buzzfeed.com. Retrieved from https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/buzzfeed.com#?sites=buzzfeed.com
The Australian Broadcasting Commission. (n.d.). ABC History. Retrieved from https://about.abc.net.au/abc-history/
The Australian Broadcasting Commission. (2018). ABC NEWS: Stronger local journalism for state and territory audiences. Retrieved from https://about.abc.net.au/press-releases/abc-news-stronger-local-journalism-for-state-and-territory-audiences/
The Australian Broadcasting Commission. (2018). Volume Two – Annual Report 2018 Australian Broadcasting Corporation – Yours, Now and Into The Future. Retrieved from