The front page of MilwaukeeNNS.org. The website won an Edward R. Murrow award in 2012, their second year in operation.
It's a bit crazy to think that a successful, award-winning, and highly funded news organization runs out of my communication building. 

However, the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, which operates from the fourth floor of Johnston Hall, home to the Diederich College of Communication, received an Edward R. Murrow award in 2012, and was awarded copius grant money as a result. According to the NNS website, the Murrow award is awarded to those who "demonstrate the spirit of excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the broadcast news profession."

This is a great story that we read and watched during editor-in-chief Sharon McGowan's presentation in 1550 last Wednesday. It tells the story of a group of young mothers banding together to create fun activities for kids in their communities. 

The award specifically came in the Online News Operation - Non-Broadcast Affiliated Website category. That sounds very complicated and specific, but it still amounts to some serious national recognition for a sort of fledgling organization associated with Marquette.

Oh, and did I mention I get to write for it? That's my favorite part of this whole thing. MNNS is a legit, award-winning news organization, and I get to produce a multimedia story for them. 

I admittedly know almost nothing about the local Milwaukee community outside of sports. Unfortunately, my general radius of life my first year and a month at Marquette has confined me mostly to campus. This opportunity with MNNS is great because I'll have a chance to expand my knowledge and step out of my comfort zone. I'll also get to produce a piece of quality reporting. I'll have a wonderful opportunity to learn and progress in my chosen profession because of my opportunity with them. I can't wait to get started.
An awesome picture of a huge dog from the "Latest Guinness world records" gallery headlines the News in Pictures section.
CBSNews.com's reliance on pictures is apparent even to the casual visitor. Pictures cover the website up and down and always somehow factor into articles. The pictures draw the eyes in and attract those who wouldn't have interest in words that essentially conveyed the same message.

CBS even has their own picture gallery section near the top of the page, as shown above. The Latest Guinness world records gallery and the 2012 Emmy parties gallery are two of the featured Monday galleries. This section mostly covers soft news, although sometimes hard news is included, like on 9/11. 

Aside from the picture galleries, every section down the main page of the site has its own picture attached to the lead story. Moreover, the links to CBS News Broadcasts down the right side of the page each have pictures attached to them that summarize the main points of each video. The lead story right now is about Bill Clinton.

Every story needs a picture on CBS News. They try and utilize all of the media that they can in a changing world of journalism, and pictures are at the heart of what they do.

Audio, however, takes a backseat on CBSNews.com. The only audio link present on the front page of the website is a play button towards the bottom right of the page that connects to a broadcast of the most updated version of CBS Radio News. The broadcast is updated every hour.

While pictures drive CBSNews.com forward, they spend more time on that and video than they do with any sort of audio. They clearly feel that visuals drive reader's interest more than sound
Peyton Manning and Robert Griffin III both starred on Sunday, leading their teams to victories and A's from CBS
With all the anticipation and excitement leading up to the first Sunday of the NFL season, the day itself can overwhelm the writers and bloggers assigned to cover it. CBSSports.com covered the madness in a number of ways, but one of the tricks they used to make their analysis reader friendly was a grading system for all of the teams that played so far in week one.

CBSSports.com senior blogger Will Brinson made a table of all the teams that played and paired them up with their opponents. I actually didn't like the way he organized it, as I would have preferred a listing of the teams with the best grades on down. He started with the Sunday night game and ended with the Wednesday night game, so he sort of listed the games in reverse order to when they took place, even though he strayed from that in the middle of the article.

Nine of the 14 victors received grades in the A's (A- to A+). The highest grade went to the Redskins, who received an A+ behind a huge road win over New Orleans led by rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. Other significant A's went to the San Francisco 49ers, who knocked off the Packers in Lambeau to kick off their 2012 campaign, and the New York Jets, who obliterated the Buffalo Bills in a statement game for controversial quarterback Mark Sanchez.

Three teams received failing grades from Brinson. The Cleveland Browns, who lost a tight game to the Eagles, got an F because Brandon Weeden struggled, throwing four picks, and because they lost a game in which their opponents probably played their worst possible offense game. The Bills flunked out Sunday after they were drubbed by the Jets and lost their starting running back Fred Jackson for the next month with a knee injury. The final F went to the Carolina Panthers, who lost to a previously hapless Buccaneers team and only rushed for ten yards, even though they have the best dual threat quarterback in football in Cam Newton. 

My hometown Seahawks drew a C- from Brinson, after they fell short against division rival Arizona on the road, 20-16. I think that Brinson evaluated the Hawks perfectly, because while they lost a game they should have won, rookie quarterback Russell Wilson looked pretty good and the defense played well from the second quarter on. 

Brinson and CBS Sports did a great job of utilizing a reader-friendly way to convey analysis. His grading explanations could have had more relevant information and he could have ordered the teams another way, but overall, Brinson wrote well and graded appropriately.

Tuesday night's front page of CBSNews.com
As a member of the "will" generation, I get my news the fastest way possible: from Twitter. So usually the only way I end up on a site like CBSNews.com is after I googled information about a trend I saw on my feed.

For example, when actor Michael Clarke Duncan died on Monday, I found out because "RIP Michael Clarke Duncan" was on my trends list on Twitter. I then googled him to confirm his death and to read up on the details. One place I landed was here, an article on CBS about Hollywood's reaction to the actors death.

From my first impression however, it seems to me CBS News strives to be more than just a hit on a google search.

The website is littered with pictures and headlines about the most "important" news of the day. The top of the page contains a ticker of top stories that you can click back and forth to see pictures of. For example, Julian Castro is on the front page in the screen shot, but one click of the right arrow and Michelle Obama comes up.

To the right of the ticker is a list of headlines. Some are serious, like this one about the record gay presence at the Democractic National Convention, and some are silly, like this video of a moose attacking a Vermont man.

After the top of the front page, the site scrolls way down to reveal a cornucopia of other stories sorted under categories like "entertainment," "politics," and "moneywatch." As you continue to scroll down the page, the diversity of the news offered by CBS continues to deepen. It's interesting to note that the very bottom of the headlines is the "opinion and analysis" section. Clearly, people come to this site for facts about the news and not editorial commentary.

Overall, CBS News does a solid job of covering major news stories nationwide and worldwide. It fills the role of interent extension of a television news network excellently.

Here's a link to Kal Penn ragging on Clint Eastwood at the DNC tonight that was on CBS News. Funny stuff.


    Patrick Leary is a Seattlite studying journalism at Marquette University in Milwaukee. He writes the volleyball beat for the Marquette Tribune and loves the Seattle Mariners.


    November 2012
    October 2012
    September 2012