Welcome to the Blogosphere

4 09 2011

Although ABC News is willing to flood their pages and stories with links to social media and reader interaction, they handle blogs a bit differently and more effectively.  They manage to differentiate between a news story and the opinion of a blog by having a totally separate ABC News Blogs page where it is clear that these are opinion articles from contributors and not straight factual news stories.

In comparison CNN have news stories alongside blogs/opinion pieces on their home page.  It could be argued that some of the blogs are given more prominence than some of the actual news due to the larger font used and by the inclusion of photographs to accompany them whereas a lot of the news is just listed in bland, small type headline bunched together.  I prefer ABC’s approach simply because there can be absolutely no confusion between news and opinion and news gets the greater prominence.

Another positive aspect of ABC’s use of blogs is by dividing the page into categories of blogs from Politics to Entertainment to Health.  This makes it easier to navigate when searching for blogs that interest you.  There is also a link down the side of the page to each different contributor, though with there being 35 different contributors it is easy to get lost amongst all the names particularly as there doesn’t seem to be any hierarchy in the listings of the contributors – they are just in alphabetical order by their first name.  Also, not every contributor has written a blog which then could lead to the blurring between news and opinion because it may not be apparent that something linked to on the Blogs page might not actually be a blog.  For example, the first contributor is Japanese correspondent Akiko Fujita who has written no blogs whereas the network’s chief political correspondent George Stephanopoulos is some way down the list but has written over one thousand blogs.

With such an abundance of blogs available it is quite a surprise that you have to scroll right down to the bottom of the ABC home page to find a link to the Blogs page.  Although I think it is good they have kept a good separation between news and blogs, there probably should be a link a bit higher up the home page though not to the extent of the prominence given to blogs and opinion pieces by CNN.  One negative aspect about the blogs themselves are they don’t tend to use much multimedia material to complement the blogs.  Most of the ones I read were text only which did render them quite bland (eg – Alexander Marquardt on Israel).  One or two did have videos (eg – Juju Chang on Chaz Bono) but they were definitely in the minority.

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6 responses

5 09 2011
emeewes

I definitely agree that ABC does a good job of separating the stories from commentary. Some websites tend to blur that line and it ends up confusing the readers who tend to only click what they find interesting.

I believe the CBS News website has the option you are looking for to make blogs more accessible without jeopardizing the stories. There is simply a bar across the top:
Blogs: x , x , x , etc.
This way you can still be linked inside the stories, but you don’t have to go digging for the information (or writers) you want.

5 09 2011
gfisken

Yes you are right, the CBS News website does make their blogs more accessible. I like the fact “Blogs” is in bright red type so there can be no confusion that it is not a news section and that the font is smaller than the actual news categories to highlight the less importance of the blogs.

5 09 2011
brianpaneral

This was a very well-written blog post. I enjoyed your graphics a lot. They added professionalism and multimedia to your blog. I definitely agree that blogs are taking over. I like how you mentioned ABC’s separate page designated for their blog. I think that shows that ABC realizes the importance of opinion driven blogs in today’s era of news.

5 09 2011
njohnst4

I’m somewhat surprised with just how bland ABC News’ blogs are. While I certainly don’t want the lines between news and commentary blurred, I do expect for something to at least be visual appealing. ABC News’ blogs seem like they downloaded a really cheap WordPress theme and started using it.

6 09 2011
gfisken

That’s the difficult thing – I would rather they used the best of their multimedia for the actual news stories but then again you don’t want to read a blog that has nothing but solid text. I’m sure they could find a happy medium.

5 09 2011
johnstewartiii

I agree with your point that news and blogs need to be separated. The two can be blended together so well that you don’t even npotice the difference between a story and a commentary. The blogs should be higher up on the webpage, but in order to keep them separate from the rest of the news, it may be neccessary. A webpage is never perfect, but ABC News usually does a good job.

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