you're reading...

Like or like not?

While reading Mattias’ latest post Print news still dominates – or does it? I wondered how newspapers manage to work the web efficiently and to create a website holding the readers and even attracting new ones. So that they are not forced to shut down as for example News of the World whilst the trend goes towards reading news online.

To me this seems very challenging, because the online appearance differs clearly from the printed news. Should sidelong articles also be published on a newspaper website? Personally I prefer short, explicit and straight to the point information rather than scanning through 3000 symbols glowing on the screen.

Andy Rutledge, designer and author of Design Professionalism, criticizes the general online design and appearance of newspapers. He argues that responsibility has been displaced by reader opinions and ethical standards have been exchanged for misdirection. In his opinion most newspaper websites are overloaded and slay down the users with “pink noise” – an unusable mixture of advertisement, apps and articles pressed into the screen under the motto – as much as possible. Presenting the online format in the same way as the printed version displays the greatest mistake by newspaper organizations.

Find the difference

Using the New York Times as an example for “terribly-designed” news Rutledge suggests various thoughtful alternatives to improve the usability of the website. Since Rutledge misses the content which doesn’t shine through the “pink noise”, he proposes striking headlines providing the possibility to logically scan through them. Too much distraction by ads and different navigation methods cause confusion. The reader should be able to easily choose a topic of interest. Among other proposals, Rutledge requests radically to abandon social media tools, which turn to unprofessionalism.

That’s a tough one – what do others think about this argument? Especially in times of Web 2.0 this must offend many bloggers. Thinking about the last mentioned statement, leads to another interesting site of newspaper’s online presence: the influence of social media.

Click the “Like” Button or not?

Matthew Ingram for instance completely disagrees with Rutledge regarding the role of social media. People like to share their thoughts and interests. Why don’t use Twitter or Facebook and others platforms to do so? While Rutledge argues “News is not social media. If it is, it fails to be news”, Ingram points out that social media supports the connection between readers and to use them even as news filters for individual interest. Since there is usually not such a person who is interested in everything that a newspaper produces these kind of social media tools help to scan for the specific facts.

Hence we see the clash between delivering clear facts (Rutledge) and the amelioration of those via real-time and personal social media platforms (Ingram).

What do you think about the role of the news nowadays? Should they only deliver the “dry” facts about something and do “comments” and “like” buttons falsify the information?

About Fernanda

Hi, currently I am in the 2nd semester of the study program International Business Management at the HWR Berlin. Amongst others we are taught the course Business Applications where we founded the blogging group "News woth Juice". The aim is to combine and finally present the very general topic "news" with business appliaction matters. Thus the repertory of posts is very broad. Since my interests lie especially in social-political and organizational areas, I focus the research on those topics. However "field trips" to other discussions occur as well while maintaining the overall subject news. Especilly interesting the analysis of the role news play in both daily and professional life.


3 thoughts on “Like or like not?

  1. Hey Fernanda,
    I think online newspapers are really handy, just having them as home page of your browser, makes it easy to at a glance see an interesting article you may otherwise not have read – and it’s for free!
    I do though understand what Rutledge is critizising.. I sometimes think the whole social media stuff and personal comments or articles by bloggers make the online newspaper thing a bit “unprofessional”. On the other hand this is just the way our world is developping… it can be really interesting to read other people’s (unprofessionals) ideas and thoughts about topics and not always just read “dry objective facts” as it may sometimes be in traditional newspapers. This really opens up new opportunities that didn’t exist before!

    Great post, Fernanda! I think it’s dealing with a very current and interesting issue!

    Posted by Jessica M. | December 19, 2011, 4:35 pm
  2. Hey Fernanda,
    It was a pleasure to read through your blog post! I liked the way you structured it and how you gave different perspectives about this topic. I agree with Jessica that online newspapers are really convenient I read them on my mobile phone as well as on my laptop. (However I prefer the original newspaper made out of paper.) I think we have to be very critical about blog posts and ‘unprofessional’ articles as there is a lot of trash in the internet. An online newspaper should be very careful to keep their professional image and should choose their content advisedly. People should not be misguided by inaccurate information.

    Posted by KathrinS | January 4, 2012, 4:59 pm
    • Hey,
      thanks for your comments.
      Of course there can be false or misguiding information on the web. In my opinion this is a general matter. Not everything written down in the newspapers or in books is correct either. A discussion about right or wrong is another thing because it is based on subjective point of views. For a journalist the truth might be different than for someone who is actually involved or effected by an event.

      I agree with Jessica, the social media open up new channels to understand or find out which information is the true one for us.

      Posted by Fernanda | January 5, 2012, 2:14 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: