What’s at stake?

26Oct09

What does it matter that I talk about CNN.com?

I guess the first place to begin is that I consider CNN.com to be a primary news source.  I figure that there are many others out there just like me.  These people get to work in the morning with their lukewarm cup of coffee, turn on their computers, check their email and look at CNN.com (or WeatherChannel.com; or both).

I rarely have time to even sit down and watch CNN on the television. I rarely consult television for my news, period. Why? Convenience primarily. To make it home by 5,6,or 7 P.M. for the day’s news is really almost asking too much in the life of this college kid, and Lord only knows that I am not waking up in the morning for morning news, thank-you.  Therefore, CNN.com provides me a happy little medium. I can check the news when I want and where I want. CNN.com is accessible.

I used to get an AJC delivered to my apartment everyday when I first moved to Athens. I like newspapers. The way they smell, the thin sheets, the font of the news stories to name a few attributes; however, I never had the time to muddle through the thickness of the paper. The headlines would start a story and then continue on the next page (or a few pages back depending on the length, space and layout for the day).  With CNN.com I am able to read a story from start to finish without having to search for the ending. For a long story, I read while scrolling down to the bottom.  If there’s more to the story, then there’s usually an arrow that I click that continues me to the next webpage of news. CNN.com provides a really easy roadmap for news; newspapers can sometimes be harder to follow.

Another thing I really hated about the newspaper were all the advertisements. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that newspapers need to sell ads in order to make money and keep the paper running. However, newspaper ads can be distracting from the story (anything in a box and bold print that says “SALE at Macy’s” has me drooling in seconds). Which makes me think that newspapers are sometimes more focused on making sure that the ads are laid out in the perfect spot instead of the news story itself.

Cnn.com v. Newspaper

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4 Responses to “What’s at stake?”

  1. 1 Scott Reed

    The “map” metaphor is apt, and I think your visual there is making an implicit vertical/horizontal pun — both of these things seem to signal a degree of alliance with Deleuze & Guattari.

    If I’m lost in anything here, it’s that your comments veer towards newspapers, and (correctly) how they manifest a certain layout bias towards the ads. I’d like to see that distinction come around to what’s happening @ CNN, with a sense of what’s at stake — more direct relationship with the news of the day?

    In other words, bring this back around to the organization of CNN itself and what it does, even if you have to determine it by figuring out what it’s not doing.

  2. 2 allisonjcass

    I also like the map metaphor drawing from Deleuze & Guattari. Using CNN.com made me think of google as a search engine and how they way we gather information has changed. The way we intake news has also changed. I, too, used to get the AJC, but I found I never really made it past the front pages of each section because I’d get lost in the many pages or caught up in the ads (however, I always managed to read every inch of the comics). I thought about how “is google making us stupid” or “will we let google make us smarter” in relation to the newspapers and internet sources. Are people jumping on the internet sites more than they read the paper/watch the evening news? Are we taking advantage of this readily accessible dissemination of news?

    I also thought that it would be good to go into the web site and analyze it’s design. How does the site afford me to navigate through it, ensure that I will actually finish the article? (a similar situation with the paper not easily letting me finish the story because I have to flip through pages of other stories to pick up where I left off, and often times on my journey there, my interest is captured by another story that I pass along the way, and then I forgot the first story I was reading to begin with). How does cnn.com ensure that the user will navigate my way through the entire site. What is it’s version of a front page and how is it laid out.

    I think it’d be great to use links in the blog that take me to the site so I would see it as the user sees it. From there, go on to analyze how cnn.com does or does not inform me. What does cnn.com highlight and how the arrangement of articles vs. ads online pan out (I feel like there are still going to be prominent advertisements online, but does the user have the power to resist them?) I also am concerned with how cnn.com uses images. I know in the paper the headlines and pictures are what capture my interest first and afford me to read on/turn the page/find out more. How does cnn.com do this?

    The one thing I do cherish about the newspaper is the ease with which I am able to carry it around. With cnn.com, I would constantly have to have my computer on me. It would prohibit me from reading on the bus ride to and from school. Just something to think about the scene of cnn.com.

  3. 3 cocojpojo

    11/2 peer review:

    Tobes,

    In this post, I see what you’re doing there. What you’re doing there I see. Or however the lolcats phrase goes.

    Here’s what my map looks like:

    “What does it matter

  4. 4 cocojpojo

    11/2 peer review:

    Tobes,

    In this post, I see what you’re doing there. What you’re doing there I see. Or however the lolcats phrase goes.

    I mapped your post as I read it, and I understood (even beyond the title and first paragraph) that your overarching question is “What does it matter that I talk about CNN.com?” You go in three different directions from there.

    1. From there, you bubble off (which is what I’ll be calling the branches/links we’re supposed to be talking about) to “what it is”: “a primary news source.”

    “What it is” bubbles off to a vignette: “get to work and check CNN.com.” This vignette does not touch any other bubble-offs.

    2. The simple question “Why?” is addressed next. First bubble-off is “no time for CNN on TV.”

    Second bubble-off is “CANNOT (not exactly “will not”) make it home to watch the 5, 6, 7 p.m. news shows.”

    Third bubble-off is “WILL NOT (not exactly “cannot”) get up at 7 to watch the morning news shows.”

    Last and culminating bubble-off is “convenience — CNN.com is accessible where and when I want.”

    3. “News online vs. in a newspaper”: you can read from start to finish, either on one page or linked in easy-to-maneuver “next page” links, all as opposed to the newspapers’ “Continued on B12.” i.e., no flipping to FIND stories

    Second bubble-off is about advertisements: they are more prominent, conspicuous and “distracting” in newspapers. You feel like you need to stop to look at the Macy’s sale ad in the paper. Online, they’re less enticing.

    Third bubble-off, that only connects to other “News online vs. in a newspaper” bubble-offs, that you LIKE newspapers. It’s just that they’re not for you.

    Suggestions:
    1. Use one blog post for one topic. Talk about WHAT CNN.COM IS in one post, WHY CNN.COM in another, NEWSPAPERS VS. ONLINE in another, etc. That way, you’re really utilizing the blog post as short read for one idea, not long post that could have been multiple entries.

    2. Besides the convenience of having an online alternative to the news, what about CNN.com makes it worthwhile to talk about? Does CNN.com want to be seen as solely “the convenient alternative,” or is it trying to make itself your favorite kind of news source EVER? And if so, how? Layout? Interactivity?

    3. If it’s worthwhile to you, provide CNN.com’s detriments. Is it everything you want and need currently? Does a newspaper or cable news ever make MORE sense than reading the news online? Does CNN.com’s rad new Web 2.0-ness make it less news-y, less sophisticated and more trendy, more teenager-y? If so, are these bad things?

    So, my foremost recommendation is to be clear on what pathway you’d like your blog’s readers to take when reading but also to tag enough so that readers can say, “Forget reading about why CNN.com is worse than newspapers in some respects! I wanna read more about what it is,” which is something you will allow readers to do by categorization and tags.


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