Prepare yourself for Wednesday, folks. Mira Lowe, senior editor for features on CNN Digital, plans on stopping by JOUR 2100 for a visit. Our professor instructed that the following blog post be based on the CNN sites that Lowe works with and compare them to our own beat. The pages include entertainment, tech, health, living and travel. From what I saw, CNN had similar issues as with The Plain Dealer. But TPD still needed to bow down before all of CNN’s glory.
I looked at the entertainment section first. My beat had its stories on movies in theaters. But any other content stayed on such things as local rock concerts, expensive food and bars. I didn’t have the interest, money or age for any of that. On CNN’s Entertainment page, I found it great that the editors included stories about national stars. It was fascinating to see celebrities strutting around and engaging in activities as any average person. I also enjoyed the photo gallery on the left side of the page. But it wasn’t so nice that I wasn’t able to click on the photo and learn more about its context. Take the Kevin Hart picture on the page for example. I cannot express how much I wanted to know why Hart was walking around with what looked like 3-D breasts pasted on his black shirt. I clicked the photo but got no other information. Disappointment came over me: I wanted more insight.
Now I found a tech page under Cleveland’s website, but I’m not sure that it was what I was looking for. I also had to search for one. That serves as a downfall for anyone who wants facts on the latest gadgets, gismos, and do-hickeys. CNN came out victorious yet again with its easy-to-find page. And I. loved. The headlines. They all made sense: no complex words or anything that would make a reader go “What is this mess?” They also all interested me by the way they were worded. “Was this Mark Zuckerberg’s first website?” I went all “Ooh. News on a recent social media icon’s past" because the headline posed a question on a current celeb that interested me.The site also differed from others through the organized and simple columns. There are basically only two, so there weren’t that many surprises. And Entertainment and Tech together had a lot less rows and columns going on than the CNN.com’s homepage. That’s great. Keep it colorful. Keep it simple.
The Health page didn’t strike that much appeal within me. Everything just seemed unorganized. I’d go with the format of the CNN homepage rather than this. Ohio’s news source looked more simple with its two columns and consistent lengths. On CNN’s Health page, I couldn’t tell if some articles were really articles or just advertisements. Someone placed an Anderson Cooper ad right in the middle of the “Health Minute” row, and sponsored links appeared right above the similar colored “Health A-Z" box below. The site also consisted of a row like on my beat's page where you could get the same info on the same page if you just scrolled down. It was too much.
The Living and Travel pages also served as weird for me. It looked a lot like CNN.com’s homepage, with too much content stuffed in it. I felt this was the case because I saw too many small pictures crammed next to each other, especially in the “In case you missed it” and “Travel Snapshots” area. I also ran into another small ad in the middle of the "ICYMI" and "TS" parts. The similar sizes made me think that the ad was an article itself. Other than the Health page, the other CNN sites don’t do that. These three shouldn’t either. I did like the format under "Editor’s Choice" and how there was a photo and then a headline below it all stacked together. That made me want to look at the photos first, and then read the headline. The outline right next to the center piece of the page should be the future format of two more neat columns.
No matter what the approach, CNN strives at maintaining perfection. I did notice some points where my news source had its moments. But the cable news channel can sure throw a punch toward its competition with its online content.