ABC News and The New Daily
The rapid growth of the Internet has laid the foundation for the rise of digital media technology. The technology of popular communication is constantly updated, from traditional print journalism to contemporary online journalism. While the traditional mainstream media continues to try to integrate with online media, a generation of digital-born websites has emerged.
This article will analyze the relationship between the mainstream media ABC News and the digital-born website The News Daily from various perspectives such as operational model, target audience, interactivity, and multimedia. A critical comparison will be conducted by examining news stories published by the two websites related to the news that the Reserve Bank of Australia will continue to raise interest rates.
ABC News is the news service of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC, n.d.). It has occupied an important place in the history of Australian news, mainly providing the latest news coverage in different fields (ABC News, 2011). Australian Broadcasting Corporation was established in 1932 as a national broadcaster funded directly by the Australian government (ABC, n.d.). As a publicly owned institution and recipient of government funding, one of the inevitable problems is that it will receive some interference and scrutiny when providing an independent news service. To ensure that the independence and integrity of the news is maintained, in 1983 the government passed the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act and appointed The ABC Board (ABC, n.d.). The ABC Board is responsible for the operation of ABC News to ensure that the news and content published by ABC meet journalistic standards and are accurate and impartial.
The New Daily is a free Australian news website founded in 2013 (The New Daily, n.d.). In contrast to the government-funded ABC News, The New Daily was initially funded by Industry Super Holdings, a non-profit superannuation fund (Battersby, 2016). Although it is a pension-funded online news site, The New Daily has an independent editorial policy – “The New Daily Editorial Charter” – that separates news content from its owners and makes it independent (Samios & Harris, 2020). It aims to provide fair and objective news to the world. In addition to the Foundation’s financial support, commercial revenue is becoming a major source of funding for The News Daily. In the period 2021-2022, The New Daily’s annual revenue reached $3.2 million, which provides a good foundation for the news site’s future growth (The New Daily, 2022).
According to ABC’s annual report (2022), ABC reached 69% of media coverage during a week. The total number of views in February 2023 was even 64.2 million, with 54.96% of males and 45.04% of females (SimilarWeb, 2023). The New Daily’s audience gender distribution is similar to ABC News, with males accounting for 55.46% and females accounting for 44.54%. The New Daily has about 2 million readers per month on average. It is mainly dominated by younger subscribers, with 25-34 years old being the largest age group. Compared to The New Daily, ABC News has a larger proportion of young users in its age distribution.
According to the analysis by SimilarWeb (2023), it is evident that government and computer electronics and technology-related news have been the most popular topics on these two media sites. In addition, a large portion of The New Daily’s audience is also more interested in content about bank credit and lending-related topics.
ABC News: The Reserve Bank is tipped to raise interest rates again, even as some families struggle to meet higher home loan repayments (Ainsworth & Whitson, 2023)
The New Daily: ‘Incredibly difficult’: RBA prepares 10th straight rate hike, despite slowing economy (Elmas, 2023)
Writing and content production
Accuracy and credibility
With the rapid development of Internet technology, people can use the Internet to publish and obtain information anytime and anywhere. The accuracy of information sources has also become a very serious problem. It is difficult for readers to evaluate the accuracy and quality of the information they get on the Internet. One important way to address this issue is to provide sources and references. Both news mention the increase in monthly payments for a $500,000 loan with higher cash rates. ABC News cites the source of the information when referring to the data. However, The New Daily is more casual in not mentioning any sources. To some extent, this greatly reduces the accuracy of the news data and the credibility of the source.
Although the topics are similar, ABC News‘ writing style is more accessible and empathetic. It provides not only a professional perspective on the news, but also includes interviews with the Australians who are affected. In contrast, The New Daily focused more on expert analysis of the story.
According to SimilarWeb (2023), the average visit time of readers at ABC News is about 04:05, and The New Daily is even shorter at 03:28. Users tend to browse through content such as headlines, links, and images as entry points to help them access information (Bradshaw, 2017). Therefore, editors need to post news that allows readers to capture the most interesting content quickly. Clear headlines and subheads are an important way to provide effective online news (Bradshaw, 2017).
ABC News uses three subheads in its news. These three subheads play a key role in leading the user through the page and enhancing the scanability of the news. It is also worth mentioning that there is a “Key points” section at the beginning of the story to allow readers to capture the key information of the story quickly.
The New Daily has only one subhead (“Interest rates to rise despite slowing economy”) and largely repeats the main headline. This makes it difficult for readers to quickly catch the main point when they swipe their mouse to skim the page.
Interactivity and Multimedia
Interaction is the key core of an online website (Bradshaw, 2017). Combining text and multimedia is a key strategy to attract users’ attention. It can effectively provide the audience with more opportunities for interaction and access to information (Lee, 2008).
Except for the cover image at the beginning of the website, The New Daily added only a data table to the news story. In contrast, ABC News used more multimedia, including a table of data lines, pictures and embedded video.
The multimedia presentation of relevant information increases the audio-visual impact and audience engagement (Lee, 2008). In addition, ABC News also embedded an online loan repayment calculator in the news article. Users can enter numbers directly to get their impact on rising interest rates. By clicking on the embedded media, users can interact directly with the multimedia.
The New Daily‘s audience engagement is primarily reflected in the communication and dialogue with users. This is specifically evident in the site’s comment interaction feature. At the end of the news, the site has a dedicated comments section. This allows users to express their opinions in the comments section and also to interact with other readers to exchange ideas.
Hyperlinks are interactive ways for users to click on relevant information to go to another page. The use of hyperlinks can help the reader understand the relevant information in detail and in-depth (Borah, 2014).
The names of authors are presented as hyperlinks on the ABC News website. By clicking on the author’s name, visitors can go to a page containing the author’s profile and contact information. Hyperlinks are also used in the body of the news to indicate the source of information below the data presentation table. Clicking on the hyperlink will lead to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s page detailing the cash rate target.
Although The New Daily also uses a lot of data and quotes in its news stories, there are no hyperlinks to any of the relevant information in the body of the story. The New Daily‘s use of hyperlinks is mainly in the navigation bar at the beginning and end of the story with icons for email, Facebook and Twitter respectively. These icons allow users to quickly jump to other social platforms for interaction, such as retweeting or updating social media.
All hyperlinks and embedded media on ABC News and The New Daily‘s pages are functional.
Being a government-funded site, ABC News uses a variety of technologies to provide data analysis, social and multimedia. There is only a small amount of advertising and most of it is free. However, The New Daily, which requires commercial revenue to operate, has a large number of advertisements on the site. According to SimilarWeb (2023), thenewdaily.com.au has a total of 144 technologies from 17 different industries installed on the site, 85 of which are advertisements and most of which are paid for.
Although the two news articles describe similar topics, it is clear that the mainstream media and the digital-born sites have different focuses on the presentation of online news. ABC News focuses on news writing and content engagement, while The New Daily focuses more on user sharing and interaction. ABC News needs to strengthen its communication with readers, and The New Daily needs to optimize its storytelling presentation to include more accurate information and multimedia engagement. But it is to be acknowledged that while competing with the mainstream media, the emergence of digital-born websites has provided participants with an alternative perspective and access to information and news.
Word Count: 1553 (Excluding Reference List)
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Samios, Z., & Harris, R. (2020). “APRA is now awake”: Prudential regulator investigating The New Daily. The Sydney Morning Herald. https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/apra-is-now-awake-prudential-regulator-investigating-the-new-daily-20201211-p56mo1.html
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