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The New York Times

This was in an class project critiquing different news websites. I worked on the New York Times website, and you can see the comments of myself and my partner for this project, Arynn, below.

 

What is your first impression of the site?

–  When we first brought the page up, both the ads and the videos on the page took about 10-15 seconds to load, something that potentially lose audience attention.

–  The page is instantly very clean and neat, with a main headline for the page that is recognizable and draws you in.

–  Both top and left rows and columns easily list links on the page and make it easy to find information you are looking for.

–  Hyperlinks are clearly displayed in a color and text that is not far off from the content text, making it easy to click and be redirected to other places on the site.

–  The white to the left and right of the main page makes for visual rest space, not overwhelming the reader from the start.

How does this site establish credibility? How does it establish trust? Or does it?

Authentic voice? Genuine? Transparency?

–  In the articles Without Spirit of ’08, Mutual Fears Reunite Democrats, the author leaves aside bias and presents the facts and quotes in a straightforward manor. Other nonpolitical articles were also written without much personal bias. At the top, right of the page, there is a designated place for opinion readings. This helps the reader know up front that they are going to be getting the bias of the author if they choose to read those articles. The New York Times is being honest with their readers from the start.

–  Obama’s Speech article transparency is shown. The author from the start references God, showing his personal religion, something that is not typically politically correct in unbiased articles. The author also reveals his political views. He uses words like personally and “I wish”.

–  If you reference page 29 in the textbook, the NYTimes website meets many or most of the criteria for a credible site, including appears professionally designed and frequent updates.

What is the general writing style?

–  We think the main writing style of the New York Times is objective, with the articles having facts and quotes presented in a straightforward manor that doesn’t sway the reader one way or the other. Judging by the articles posted on todays page, there seems to be more of a democratic slant with the choice of articles that are published. Overall, the site seems more reliable and neutral than openly slanted news sources such as Fox News.

Does the writer IDENTIFY with his or her readers, or not? How (or why not)?

–  After reading a selection of articles, we find it difficult for authors to identify with readers and stay objective at the same time. It would be easier for authors of blogs or entertainment sites to identify with readers because their purpose isn’t to inform without objectivity.

Does the writing style get to the point?

–  The articles are clean, easy to read, and easy to take in. The authors do a good job of being descriptive and wordy when necessary without being overwhelming to the reader. They do a great job of “chunking” text together to make it easy to scan and skim the articles. This is done well in the opinion article on Obama’s Speech by David Brooks.

How is it arranged? It is arranged in reverse pyramid style?

–  We found most of the articles to be arranged in reverse pyramid style. By reading the first paragraph or two the audience has a clear idea of what the article is about and what main points are trying to be made. “The Ice Pick” article by Wendy Ruderman does a great job of catching the readers attention in the first few paragraphs, another arrangement that draws readers in.

Is content shaped for scanning? How in the content layered?

–  The content is very much shaped for scanning. As we mentioned earlier, the descriptive headlines, teaser sentences, brief paragraphs, visuals, and related stories/links, make it very easy to skim the article, pulling out the main points and being able to jump to other sites to get different info or opinions.

Is the tone or rhythm of the site consistent throughout?

–  All the articles seem to have the same objective throughout the site and are very fact oriented. They do a good job of keeping the language neutral and basic. The articles also utilize short sentences and a direct writing style.

How does the site use headlines?

–  None of the headlines on the webpage are cutesy or fluffy, instead, they are direct and to the point, explaining to the reader quickly what the article will be discussing. They “inform rather than entertain”. The headlines match the tone of the writing as well, presenting just the facts. A few good examples are: “ Democrats Say U.S. Is Better Off Than Four Years Ago.” and “Syrian Children Offer Glimpse of a Bitter Future.” One that was less effective was “A Summer of Easy Guns and Dead Children.”

How does it use links? Effectively or not?

–  They effectively link within their website, using links to navigate to different portions of the website as well as linking to other related articles on their own page. They also do a good job of linking to outside sources within articles as well. The bottom of the page offers links to AP and Reuters, offering the readers other new sites that will also keep them coming back to NYTimes.com.

How is multimedia used?

–  Along with a main picture of video for each article, the article offers a Multimedia section to the left that encompasses all related media. They do a good job of leaving multimedia out when it isn’t related or wouldn’t be effective. We didn’t enjoy how the biggest picture on each page was an ad. It distracted from over multimedia on the page.

–  While the homepage was saturated with multimedia, we both thought the site kept the homepage clean and uncluttered.

–  The graphics are consistent throughout the site, using effective and professional videos and pictures throughout each article.

–  Each page can stand on its own because of the clear headlines and navigation use.

How is the navigation?

–  Navigation of this site is wonderful. The articles are organized by interest or topic and the topic is clearly listed at the top of the page along with the NYTimes logo. Every single page links back to the homepage which is found by clicking on the logo.

How does the site incorporate/interact with the audience?

– The site has places for the audience to chat about articles, follow them on Twitter, and send articles to friend’s with an email feature, making it very social and active.

Give two examples on your site of poor headlines used as hyperlinks and fix them. Why were they poor headlines?

– “A Summer of Easy Guns and Dead Children” > “Gun Violence Increase in the Bronx Raises Death Toll of Children” …. the first headline was vague and left us with little info about the location and specifics of the article

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