Professor Lowe recently sent a reminder to his students about the assignments due on Wednesday. One included writing another blog post based on a website that he gave each undergraduate for further analyzation throughout the semester. This week students needed something from their sites that “screamed digital journalism” to them.
As soon as I saw that comment, I gripped my computer screen and shook it. "There is nothing that screams digital journalism for my page!" I yelled. And it’s true: past blog posts I created for the news source that the professor reserved for me, The Arizona Republic, implied that my news source didn’t have anything to "scream" about. Pixilated photos dominated the internet site. Editors just put one disorganized mess into three columns. And today the webpage had an issue where an error page would pop up after every five minutes. Or maybe my computer or the service I received just acted up again. But still: I saw no chance of finding something good within this content.
I then scrolled down and looked on the right side of my screen: it read, "Get AZCentral anywhere." I remembered looking at the website through my phone one time, and how much easier looking up information was there than on a computer. So I grabbed my phone and started scrolling. It's great that the web editors kept everything the same yet introduced it in a different fashion. The designers could’ve worked more on the organization of which type of news would come next ("More News" shouldn't be right before "sports" and "community news"). But only one advertisement placed right above the azcentral.com logo popped up in a narrow horizontal row. No two confusing rows that you could click on for information came up. And my Android phone didn’t have pictures until the sports section, but that made it easier for the eyes and more professional.
I also looked at the Facebook and Twitter links. The Facebook group presented a nice photo with local reporters as the cover picture. The quality of the pictures from scrolling down on the page: great. There was this one image of macaroni and cheese: elbow noodles were glossed over with white mozzarella, a thick layer of cheese and breadcrumbs sprinkled on the top. Yes I did eat macaroni and cheese that night. For Twitter, nothing too distracting was in the background: a simple logo and information about the Facebook and Pinterest page was placed in the top left corner. And tweets engaged their followers. The site asked questions and requested that people send back responses. Only a couple of people responded to those kinds of posts, but hey: that's a start.
Yes: the site has its flaws. But the different access opportunities and social media ways that the source provided information served as great examples of digital journalism. I'm happy that something good came out of the source.