Coronavirus fears prompt shoppers to stock up on essential items, stripping supermarket shelves

ABC News - March 2, 2020 - written by Rebeka Powell

This article by ABC News would have attracted high readership within Australia due to its timeliness, proximity, impact, and at the point that it was written (March 2, 2020), bizarreness.

Yet, the article overlooks several details.


While the video (right under the heading) features a supermarket in Melbourne, and the first few paragraphs feature a mother from Western Sydney, the tags seem to suggest that only Queensland is relevant here. Furthermore, I would imagine that people interested in this article would be searching “Covid-19”, “coronavirus”, or even “stockpiling”. Such tags are nowhere to be found.

Article’s topic tags

Images and Captions

Another gripe I have with this article is its use of images and captions. While many supermarkets saw their toilet paper shelves wiped out, the image used in the article featured a shelf with stock, captioned as having “barely a roll to be found”.

Barely a roll

The caption of the image below mentions stockpiling hand sanitiser, but hand sanitiser cannot be seen in the image. What’s worse is both this image and the image above are used alongside text that quotes a mother who has been stockpiling medical supplies. I would have used images of empty pharmacy shelves or a stash of medical supplies instead.

Medical supplies? Hand sanitiser?


I would prefer hyperlinks to automatically open up in a new tab, or I might not remember to finish reading the article.

User Interaction

I would have liked an interactive comments section after the article where readers contribute their two cents worth or update other readers with relevant information, rather than just an online form for feedback.

Feedback form

1 Comment

  1. You make some good observations of the story content, for example how odd the photo choices and captioning are, and examples of keyword tags such as ‘coronavirus’ that could improve SEO.
    You also make the observation that you prefer links to open in a new tab – your own story link doesn’t, but should.
    The ABC website does not allow users to comment on stories – it invites interaction in other ways, in particular via posts on Facebook. You could add to your analysis by considering some of the other ways users can participate, for example by sharing the story, or by following the author’s byline link to her social media and a contact form.
    You use some of the conventions of online journalism in your post, including subheadings, short paragraphs, and white space. You have also identified appropriate keywords to use in your post title and as tags. The screenshots you use are captioned, but they should also include attribution for the copyright holder or source of the image, even where it seems obvious.
    You use some of the appropriate naming conventions for the features and functions of online journalism. In part 2 of the assignment, add reference to Bradshaw and other readings to support your analysis.

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