Links: CNN.com is like a peanut plant

11Nov09

An interesting facet of CNN.com news stories is that they link. There are quite a few different links on CNN.com, all of which matter to the make-up of how CNN reports the news.

Embedded Links within the story:

The first link is an embedded link, usually underlined, bolded or in a color different from the text. The distinctive visual difference from the text of the news story indicates to us that we are to click on the link. If the story is interesting enough, we want to click on the link as well. We know by its difference  to the other text that it is leading us to something new. When one clicks on an embedded link they’re looking for more news related to that subject or news story.  Clicking on it takes the CNN consumer to a completed search list of their website, much like the result of a google search filled with related news.

The blue links to CNN news stories on the homepage

Instead of clicking on the tabs across the top of the homepage that categorize news based on topic which takes you to a page solely focused on that news topic, (i.e. U.S. News tab takes you to a page filled with U.S. news) one can scroll down to the bottom of the page to look for the blue links. The blue links are categorized in their topic boxes (World, U.S., Political, ect.) and they provide a convenient way for news consumers to get their news without having to open a new page. When one looks at the blue links, they know that they are getting the top headlines and stories for the day. The blue links allow convenience.

Links to other news story sources

The other type of new story link on CNN.com is a link that connects to a story not written by CNN.com writers. Many times these articles are by local news writers or magazine contributors. It is at the point where CNN links to other news source stories that it truly becomes a rhizomatic news source. By linking to other news sources not written by their owners CNN achieves two things: a large news database and continuing their theme of being “The Worldwide Leader in News.”

Therefore CNN.com is like a peanut plant. It’s a rhizome of links leading us to get the overall story, not just one dimension of the news or what’s happening in the world. One can stay on CNN.com just linking to different news stories and news sources.

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One Response to “Links: CNN.com is like a peanut plant”

  1. 1 Scott Reed

    Might revise “different links” in your intro to “different classes of links.”

    Otherwise, I’m having a hard time reading a clear and consistent point out of the linking. The rhizomatic thing is a step in that direction, but then that only raises more questions: if we have this rhizomatic agency, what does it do to us, or to the way we think of news? There’s an interesting clue in your second point, where you assume the “feeling” of having all the day’s news at your fingertips. The truth, of course, is that we don’t get ALL the news. CNN is just one site, and they can’t report everything. But, we can argue that CNN’s linking strategies does create a sense of range and completeness. Because there’s more to link to than we could ever digest, we feel like it covers “everything.”

    This is a slight critical lapse, but also a chance to make connections between your ideas.


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