I was excited to get a bunch of fresh content to critique as a part of our CNN.com
assignment. Our "news peg" for this post stems from having CNN Digital's Mira Lowe
in class this upcoming Wednesday. She curates five different "channels" on CNN's website: entertainment, tech, health, living and travel. I found some positives in each page's construction and found each far superior to the comparable sections at my assigned beat, JS Online
The CNN.com entertainment page
was certainly comprehensive. Besides compelling top stories at the top of the section (including an interesting one on the world in which "Mad Men" operates
), the page had some interesting and unique features I really liked. The "quote board," a series of quotes with links to the articles from which the quotations came, was a nice enhancement. The interviews at the bottom of the page were with interesting and compelling subjects, such as RZA
, LeVar Burton
and Joe Rogan
. The Journal-Sentinel has a decent response
to CNN's offering, but the national coverage CNN provides gives it the nod (even though I hated the mindless paparazzi photos on the top left of the entertainment page.
The tech page had a completely different look
than the entertainment one, which I guess makes sense, but still surprised me. As opposed to the cool window look of the first page, the tech section had more of a glorified list format to it. The featured stories headline caught my eye. How do you control a computer with a banana?
That link will tell you how. However, compared to the non-existent JS Online technology page, CNN wins again.
The thing that stood out to me about CNN's health page
was the wide range of topics the top stories covered. Everything from weight loss
, to sexual orientation
, to autism
littered the front page. Evaluating multiple aspects of the health genre makes this page debatably Ms. Lowe's strongest. The Journal Sentinel's health page
was again a news feed-like list of articles pertaining to health and fitness. CNN continues its national dominance.
The living section of CNN
provided quite an eclectic mix of stories. The challenge with this page is determining what doesn't fit in its broad definition. As such, the LGBT story I linked in the last paragraph from the health section also appeared in the living category. The section had some great stories, but my problem with it is I don't ever see myself saying, "hey, I want to read some articles about living." It's too general and too broad. The Journal Sentinel agrees, since lifestyle is a category with links to sub-categories instead of its own page. Still, CNN had more compelling stories, such as this one about high schoolers trying to racially integrate their prom
. CNN wins again.
I was hooked on CNN's travel page
from the second I saw the featured story
. I mean, who doesn't want to read about my hometown of Seattle's tourism bump since legalizing marijuana in the fall? Am I right or am I right? Anyways, it was nice to see the old stomping grounds get a shoutout, but perhaps the most compelling part of the page were the photos. The one titled "Bizarre Buildings
" led to a slideshow and article about some of the weirdest buildings in Europe. Cool! The JS's effort at a travel page
? The top story is about bikes
. Not exactly eye-catching.
Overall, CNN mops the floor with the Journal Sentinel's online coverage in Ms. Lowe's five categories. Even though the JS dominates on the local level, it cannot handle the national prestige and coverage of CNN.