Former Australian Prime Minister Morrison has always maintained a politically skeptical attitude towards China. This journalism analysis will focus on two similar news stories from News.com.au and Axios about former Australian Prime Minister Morrison, and make an in-depth comparison from biographical information, user analysis, writing analysis and online delivery analysis.
News.com.au is an Australian homegrown website owned by News Corp Australia (Wikipedia, 2022). News.com.au is ranked as the third most visited website in Australia by SimilarWeb. 18 million visitors are attracted to visit every month. News.com.au covers a wide range of news sections such as lifestyle, travel, leisure, finance, technology, sport and national and international news (Wikipedia, 2022). In terms of revenue, News.com.au currently generates approximately $17.2 million in annual revenue (Growjo, 2022). On June 27, 2011, Kidspot was officially acquired by News.com.au and became one of its funding sources (Crunchbase, 2023). In addition, News.com.au is a private news site and one of the most popular news websites in Australia. It has been running for nearly 21 years and has an average of 10 million readers every month (Crunchbase, 2023). News.com.au attracts many readers with its own unique web design and content section. According to a news article on this site, one of the most important factors in its unique market is its trustworthiness (News.com.au, 2018). Polls reveal News.com.au is rated the third most trusted news source in Australia. The results of the online survey of 1025 people showed that 55% of all readers expressed a lot or some trust in News.com.au (News.com.au, 2018). The trust of readers gives News.com.au a unique and broad market in online news.
News.com.au has gained audiences from all over the world, such as Australia, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom and Canada, etc. Among them, the local audience in Australia accounted for the largest proportion, accounting for 62.2%. At the same time, in the ranking of the news website in the country, the number of visits by Australian users was ranked 14th (Alexa, 2019). Moreover, News.com.au indicates that it is one of Australia’s most popular news sites, with an average of 10 million readers a month. Australian and world news are delivered daily by its editorial team. They also claim that they write content for a broad range of genders and age groups. News moments and unique perspectives on events are highlighted. Proudly, content written by some journalists is used in digital and print in syndication with News Corp’s Metro masthead. Additionally, users can access the content of this website through desktop, mobile and applications. Some external platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and podcasts also provide access to news content. News.com.au uses real-time data, Google Analytics and trends to cater to readers, maximizing interest and engagement with news articles (LinkedIn, 2023).
Axios is an Arlington, Virginia-based U.S. news website founded in 2016 and acquired by Cox Enterprises on September 1, 2022 (Wikipedia, 2023). Axios has raised $10 million in funding led by Lerer Hippeau Ventures. In September 2017, ComScore showed that Axios had 6 million visits for the year. As of November 2017, Axios’ 11 newsletters had 200,000 subscribers and its staff had grown to 150. In addition, Axios also decided to invest more in expanding data analysis, product development, and fund audience growth, up to $20 million (Wikipedia, 2023). Early investments in Axios came from NBCUniversal and Emerson Collective, followed by investment from a private company founded by Laurence Powell Jobs (Farhi, 2022). Axios is a privately held news media company focused on online audio and video media (LinkedIn, 2023). Axios claims to be a new media company, and its unique market value is manifested in the characteristics of being efficient, inspiring and shareable. They deliver news and analysis you can trust. Unlike News.com.au, Axios offers news text that is more concise and takes less time for users to browse (LinkedIn, 2023).
Axios is supported by media partners such as NBC News, Emerson Group, Greycroft Partners and owners of Atlantic Media (Wikipedia, 2023). What makes Axios attractive to readers is that its articles are short and to the point. Most texts are not exceed 300 words (Farhi, 2022). The bullet points adopted by Axios also make it easier for readers to read. In addition to providing news articles, Axios produces industry newsletters and blogs (Farhi, 2022). Additionally, each article is marked with the amount of time readers will spend viewing that news article. This provides the reader a clear reading target. Axios aims to deliver original reporting on a new and innovative mobile platform, artfully recounting media trends, technology, business and politics. Creating content with expertise, voice and smart simplicity and trustworthiness is what Axios strives for (LinkedIn, 2023).
The News.com.au web article about Morrison and the Chinese government mainly reports on his claims that China is trying to use its economic power to dominate the region. In a news article, considering innovations in narrative structure is an aspect worth considering if the author plan to make online news more attractive, accessible, and useful (Kulkarni et al., 2002). In linear storytelling, journalists rate things according to their importance, as this is more effective in drawing attention and delivering information (Kulkarni et al., 2002). Therefore, in this report, Green (2023) adopted a linear narrative method, describing former Australian Prime Minister Morrison’s concerns about China’s economy and military as key information. In the second half of the article, Green (2023) mentioned Morrison’s views on coronavirus and the policy of wearing masks. In general, this is a documentary report, and the content of the narrative is kept objective. In addition, according to Bradshaw’s (2018) “BASIC Principle”, the interactivity represented by “I” exhibits significant influence in online news articles. Interactivity is considered to be the core of online news. One of the most representative examples is links, which allow users to interact with multimedia, such as retweet, follow, subscribe, like, etc. (Bradshaw, 2018). However, the use of interactivity is not well represented in this report by Green (2023). Judging by the main page of this online news, there is little or no use of tags, icons and hyperlinks. In addition, the structure and content of the article have not been properly arranged. For example, the transition between two parts of content that the author wanted to report was too abrupt, without using sufficient transitions and more explanation. From the perspective of multimedia presentation, the author’s reference to the relevant video is valid. This video is a more comprehensive presentation of the content of the report. However, the images embedded in it are not very relevant to the main content of the article. These pictures do not fully demonstrate the disparity between China and Australia’s investment in military and economic aspects. A picture showing only the president of China is not considered a visual example of “threatening”. Furthermore, Green (2023) provides links to Twitter, Facebook and email at the end of the article. This could be considered as a further form of interaction with readers. However, there are limits to how people can interact. Links like Instagram, LinkedIn and so on did not take into consideration.
To compare with the online news article from New.com.au, Axios used a relatively different format to report former Australian Prime Minister Morrison’s displeasure with China’s disinformation on its social media. In terms of text length, Axios’ report is shorter and uses less multimedia content. At the beginning of the article, the author only showed a photo of Morrison wearing a mask with the Australian flag on it, and did not embed more pictures and videos in the article. In addition, although the text content is short, the author embeds more hyperlinks related to the content, which facilitates more reading for readers who are interested in the content. Short text makes the storytelling clearer and more focused. Search engine optimization on Axios also provides readers with more convenient reading options. At the end of the article, the author provides Instagram as a sharing option, which also provides readers with more selectivity. However, the author is still as deficient in the relevance of the images provided as the News.com.au online news article. The author may need to consider richer, relevant images rather than just a representation of the people involved in the story. In addition, shorter content may be more likely to cause readers to misunderstand the information. Although more hyperlinks are provided to readers, the author cannot control the click rate of readers on these related content. For this reason, it is easier for readers to analyze the news information they read with a more subjective view and perspective. In a sense, this may easily lead to readers’ one-sided understanding or even misunderstanding of the content.
In conclusion, by comparing News.com.au and Axios’ reports on similar events and reporting formats, the results show different potential impacts of different formats, and provide possible and feasible improvement methods. The interaction between online news articles and readers, the convenience of search engines, the high relevance of multimedia content and the multiple choices of online delivery are the directions that online news needs to pay attention to and improve.
Alexa. (2019, January 18). News.com.au Site Overview. https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/news.com.au
Australian PM demands China apologize for “repugnant” fake image. (2020, November 30). Axios. https://www.axios.com/2020/11/30/australian-pm-china-apologize-call-fake-image
Bradshaw, P. (2018). Writing fot the web. In Liisa (2nd ed.), The Online Journalism Handbook (pp. 72-98). Routledge.
Crunchbase. (2023). News.com.au. https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/news-com-au
Farhi, P. (2022, August 8). Axios, valued at $525 million, to be sold to Cox Enterprises in major media deal. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/media/2022/08/08/axios-cox-sale/
Green, E. (2023, March 6). Former PM claims China using its economic power to dominate region. News.com.au. https://www.news.com.au/world/coronavirus/closures/former-pm-hits-out-at-premiers-claims-he-cant-stop-vaccine-mandates/news-story/ec46f4da7bf75c3b355aa360adb55c9a
Growjo. (2022). News.com.au: revenue, Competitors, Alternatives. https://growjo.com/company/news.com.au
Kulkarni, S., Thomas, R., Komorowski, M., & Lewis, J. (2022). Innovating Online Journalism: New Ways of Storytelling. Journalism Practice, 1-19. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17512786.2021.2020675
LinkedIn. (2023). News.com.au. https://au.linkedin.com/company/news-com-au
News.com.au rated third most trusted news site: NEWS.COM.AU has been named the country’s third most trusted news source behind the ABC and The Australian. (2018, October 10). News.com.au. https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/media/newscomau-rated-third-most-trusted-news-site/news-story/f67b4911bf33295e45f6194093359819
Wikipedia. (2022, October 26). News.com.au. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News.com.au#
Wikipedia. (2023, March 18). News.com.au. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axios_(website)