With today’s technology, the role of journalism in media is growing. Lets take a look at two popular news sources, the New Republic and USA TODAY, and discover the similarities/differences they have in providing news to mass audiences.
Who is the audience in this case?
The New Republic: is a liberal magazine and website that covers issues in politics and the arts (culture)
- “We’ve historically appealed to a pretty traditional demographic, but we’re now making a concerted effort to reach out to a much younger and diverse group of people…” – targets an elite audience consisting of older, educated, and wealthier readers
- Uses print and digital elements to reach their audience (magazine, social media, photographs & videos)
USA TODAY: uses print, digital, social and video platforms to reach their audience… covers everything from hard hitting news, politics to entertainment
- “middle-market” newspaper
- “USA TODAY reaches nearly 81MM* of the most influential American consumers each month.”
- They have an entire “college” section http://college.usatoday.com
How does this particular news outlet make news a two-way conversation?
New Republic: Doesn’t have a comments section for any articles but they have a way to share or like the article on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
- There is a “Contact Us” section where readers can send in messages.
USA TODAY: On every article they post online they have icons of different social media outlets that allow you to share the link and add your own comments when sharing (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)… also have an email link icon as well as a comment section that you can open up on each individual article
- There is also a “Corrections and Clarifications” section at the bottom of each page, this allows for any readers to report inaccuracies via email as well as has a running list of any corrections that should be recorded
How are they sourcing their information? Who/what are their sources?
New Republic: sources their information by linking specific phrases and words to other websites using hyperlinks.
- At the bottom of every photograph they have what the photograph is, when it was taken and where.
USA TODAY: http://www.usatoday.com/editorial-policy/
- They also use hyperlinks in each article that you can click on when referencing other sources…. these hyperlinks tend to be their own articles that they have previously published
- They hyperlink other things occasionally (instagram, twitter, etc.)
Does the site use “citizen photography”?
New Republic: gives readers the opportunity to submit messages
USA TODAY: allows users to submit content
“This Site may include a variety of features, such as discussion forums, blogs, photo- and video-sharing pages, e-mail services and social networking features that allow feedback to us and allow users to interact with each other on the Site and post content and materials for display on the Site.” (Source: http://www.usatoday.com/legal/tos.html)
How are they using social media to engage with consumers?
New Republic: engages with consumers by providing them the ability to like and share articles at the end of each article.
- At the bottom of every article there are other social media sites where you can do this. They also provide a “Contact Us” section where anyone can send a message to the company.
USA TODAY: at the bottom of each page there is a link with all of their “mobile apps” listed once clicked on and instructions on how to access USA TODAY news
- As stated before they have a link to social media sites on each article that allows people to share content easily
- At the bottom of each page there is a link to each social media account that they use
What is this news outlet telling us to think about? How is it doing that?
USA TODAY: since this outlet reports on such a wide range of subjects it is really telling us to think about the broad picture. The way they link their own articles in their posts shows that they really believe that everything is connected and that news does not happen in a vacuum… they audience is taken into account by setting up the website in a user-friendly and interactive manner. Since their audience is majority millennials, they take into account the language that they use and take a largely broad and general stance on news events while still being as specific as possible. It doesn’t so much shape what the reader thinks about, but rather gives them ample opportunity to form their own opinion after reading a post
New Republic: This website mainly covers politics and culture so it definitely tells us which topics they deem as important. If you read some articles on the website, it is obvious that they shape attention around a certain topic, shape assumptions, and articulate a direction. After every article there is another one that follows it, almost like a Facebook newsfeed. It automatically loads the most popular article, then a sponsored content article, and then the rest of TNR’s content in reverse chronological order. By doing this, New Republic is telling their audience what to read and choosing which articles they are interested interested in. New Republic also has a very simple, user-friendly site. This makes it easy for the reader to navigate which topics they want to read. Under every title, New Republic gives a quick one liner which can help the reader decide if they are interested in the article.
What are all the ways the organization is making money?
New Republic: In 2012, Chris Hughes (the Facebook co-founder) bought the New Republic and invested $20 million into the company. Recently, Hughes has been trying to sell the company because he believes that it is time for “new leadership and vision.”
- As stated in a New York Times article, “Despite many changes in the last year and more than a dozen new hires, the magazine still does not make a profit, according to three people with knowledge of its finances.”
- This company is currently struggling to make a profit and therefore has decided to try to sell the entire company. https://newrepublic.com/pages/fund
- New Republic collaborates with advertisers such as a mattress brand called Casper, Nuclear Matters, and RED. In between articles there are ads for these companies that are hyperlinked to their websites.
- Subscriptions to different prints as well as e-newsletters
- Advertisements on side bars of pages
- App downloads (they are free, however they had to have made a deal with apple and android, etc. in order to be featured in the app store)
- Home delivery for magazines and newspapers
Who is paying? Brands? Consumers?
New Republic: both brands and consumers are paying
- Subscriptions for the magazine
USA TODAY: brands and consumers
Do these methods affect the news organization’s credibility/the experience of the site? Any other methods to make money?
New Republic: This site seems to make majority of their money from subscriptions since there are very few advertisements. I don’t believe that the ads take away from the news organization’s credibility or the experience because there are very few advertisements on the website. There are never any pop-ups which I think is beneficial to the reader because it keeps the information presented simple and clean cut. I don’t think this is benefitting the financial aspects of the company because they are clearly struggling in making a sufficient amount of money. For the subscription aspect, there are benefits for subscribers in the United States. In other countries it costs more money. New Republic allows a subscriber to call and request a full refund of the unreserved portion of the subscription if they are not satisfied. Also, by teaming up with other brands and companies (such as Casper, Squarespace, and RED) the New Republic is sponsored on other websites.
USA TODAY: the site seems to make most of their money from advertisements and subscriptions, the advertisements can be a bit distracting since they are the kind that pop up if your cursor passes over a link. On the front page of the site there is a background behind all of the articles and it makes the screen seem a little cluttered. I don’t think that this takes away from the credibility of the site, however. There isn’t an overwhelming amount of links to subscription or push for subscribers on their site, so I think this method of leaving it as an option but not pushing it in the user’s face is effective. I think one method that they could use to generate user traffic is to advertise themselves on other social media sites. For example, vamp up their YouTube account and make that a go to place to learn about hard hitting news. They could advertise through each video as well and put in their brands that they are advertising at the beginning of videos or as “skins” on their YouTube page. Since YouTube is such a highly popular website, they could take advantage of their name. The membership privileges fall under the subscription category.
Is the news outlet providing news and entertainment?
New Republic: This news outlet mainly provides news about government and politics. Almost everything on the website is educational and gives the reader the opportunity to learn something about a familiar or unfamiliar topic. The entertainment that is provided in the Culture, Climate, and Books section usually covers issues that are some-what related to politics.
- For example: in the culture section, the articles still mainly relate to the election. The first article presented is called “When the Candidates Come to Town” and discusses the road these candidates take to the New Hampshire primary.
- There are rarely any articles on celebrities, music, TV, and so on.
USA TODAY: this outlet provides both news and entertainment
- They call this section “life” (things about celebrities, music, TV, movies, etc.)
- They combine these two aspects by putting previews of both types of articles on the main page
- They also combine them because there are overlaps in the “news” section and the “life” section
- For example: in the news section there is currently a video report about two celebs and their thoughts on the Oscars this year
How does the site keep you from finding “a better version of the news just one click away?”
New Republic: Similar to USA today, they usually link their sources to other articles that New Republic published. If they link a section of their article to a different source, it is usually statistics only (similarly to USA Today).
USA TODAY: majority of the time that they are referencing to other pieces of news, they are linking their own website and own articles… looked through multiple articles in several different sections and the only time they linked to another source that was not their own was Instagram or Twitter
How does it incorporate multimedia, visuals, and style?
New Republic: When you reach the bottom of an article, another one automatically loads. Throughout this “feed” of articles, there are pictures and videos to go with it.
- As they state, “We deliver a clean, fast and intuitive user experience that puts our journalism front-and center,” and this is very accurate.
- The style used is called Canvas which is simple, bold, and easy to read. It looks very classic and unified. The edit that is used on all the pictures is universal and gives a “washed out” feel, adding to the classic, old school theme.
- When there are sources that are hyperlinked, the reader is brought to a new tab so you never lose your spot.
USA TODAY: this is both a pro and con for this outlet. There is a lot of multimedia, it is very flashy and sometimes can get overwhelming.
- Every article post either features a picture, a video or both
- They have an entire section dedicated just to video news
- Their style is very colorful and eye catching (again can get to be overwhelming)
- Their visuals for the function of the site is different from other sites, they use a pop up feature whenever a new article is clicked on rather than redirecting to an entirely new page
- They also have an entire interactive section online http://www.usatoday.com/topic/E01C4890-85A2-4E0B-A3DD-58BD88E71251/interactive-graphics/
What is the tone and voice? Does it change?
New Republic: As stated by The Atlantic, the New Republic “grew to become one of the most influential liberal voices in the US.”
- The articles are usually easy to read and give sufficient background information on majority of their topics making it easy to follow.
- All of the articles are well written and articulated.
USA TODAY: the tone of voice that is used is simple
- Straight to the point, not a vocabulary lesson
- Changes slightly from entertainment v. news
How are headlines written?
New Republic: The headlines are mainly short (around 5 words). They are usually a witty one-liner that cover what the article is doing to discuss.
- Example: “Women Are More Than Freestanding Uteruses” — discusses how every life choice made by a women gets reinterpreted through the lens of pregnancy
USA TODAY: up to about 10 words (max)
- Kind of like a summary of what the article is going to be about
What sorts of images are used?
New Republic: At the beginning of every article there is a featured image
- Throughout the articles there are pictures and videos that relate to the article.
- All of the images are professionally taken and have similar edits.
- All of the pictures taken of people have a caption which includes a quick description and a date.
USA TODAY: they often link to instagram, source all of their images, professionally taken
- When it comes to anything about weather they use graphics to show patterns of a storm,etc.
What are all the ways this news outlet is distributing news?
- There is an online website which provides all of the articles
- An app for mobile devices
- Subscription deliveries
- Social Media
- Apps for mobile devices
- Subscription via delivery (magazines, newspapers)
- Social Media accounts that link to the website (Facebook, twitter, google plus, linkedin, instagram, pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr, etc.)
How does it break it up?
New Republic: For each way the news outlet is distributing news, there are categories that group relevant news together (politics, culture, books, etc.)
- The same news is presented in all outlets
USA TODAY: everything can be accessed through all platforms
How does it present it in ”digestible” ways?
- Background information on article topics
- Easy to understand language
- Articles are grouped in categories
USA TODAY: the thing that makes all the news they report “digestible” is the language
- When they report of politics, they make it as simple as possible… for someone who does not know a lot about the political world it is easy to understand
- They always give background on stories when reporting on things that that have been an ongoing situation
Is there long form reading?
New Republic: tries to only present content to their readers
- “Whether the story is a long-form reported piece, or a post about Jeb Bush and his Vines, the goal was to put the content front and center.” Says editor-in-chief Gabriel Snyder.
- Every article usually has similar amounts of pictures and videos and all of the articles are presented in the same style & format.
USA TODAY: I wouldn’t call any of their articles “long form”
- All articles are formatted exactly the same
How is adaptable to mobile consumption?
New Republic: allows you to sign in on multiple devices and if you stop reading an article on a specific page or stop watching a video at a certain time, your spot will stay the same on all your devices so you can pick up where you left off.
- New Republic also just increased their speed on their mobile site so it will load faster for customers
USA TODAY: the desktop to mobile consumption is pretty adaptable
http://static.usatoday.com/mobile-apps/ reviews from users on their page are all positive
- They aren’t much different other than the lack of interaction on the mobile site v. desktop
- Less ads on the mobile site
- Overall mobile site is more compact
What is the news cycle?
New Republic: You can have the option of being sent email notifications, otherwise all of the articles are posted onto the website or the app.
USA TODAY: You can choose to get push notifications for the application on your phone.