News is a constant, unavoidable source surrounding us. News should be reliable, true material provided to inform citizens of both good and bad happenings. In today’s world of technological advancement, it is extremely crucial for media providers to guarantee fair, accurate, relevant news to the correct audience at the best time and place.
My news source of choice is ABCnews.com. ABC does a great job of sharing recent news in an organizational pattern that is simple for citizens to view. At the ABC News homepage, the viewer’s attention is focused on the featured story of the day, appearing larger than all other stories. If the viewer isn’t necessarily interested in the feature story, specific stories/topics can be searched for at the top of the site or the viewer can select from fifteen other topic tabs. Personally, my favorite part of the site is the hot topic suggestions and “Must Read” tab options. The site has a perfect balance of stories, pictures, slideshows, videos, polls and tweets. Another neat feature is the “Change Location” option located towards the bottom of the homepage. This tool, called ABC News Local allows viewers to seek local news happenings right in their area.
When evaluating online multimedia news sites, it is important to consider a variety of traits. These five basic traits include fairness, attribution, accuracy, relevance and newness. ABCnews.com has a fair, unbiased feel. All articles are written with basic headlines, always providing fact rather than opinion. Headlines are followed by efficient summary text written in the inverted pyramid style. When discussing fairness it is important that the source approaches all sides of an issue, rather than just choosing one. With the 9/11 anniversary quickly approaching, ABC News is currently featuring various 9/11 pieces, covering all sides of the story. Attribution is similar to fairness, yet focuses more on citing where certain facts, photos and videos come from. ABC News does an acceptable job with attribution. For example, in the feature story about the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, the photo on the homepage states that it is from the Associated Press.
Accuracy is self-explanatory, simply meaning that the facts reported need to be right. A news source immediately becomes untrustworthy if an important fact in a story is stated incorrectly. For example, as mentioned in the book, if a story informs viewers of a fire that occurred and stated the incorrect date, the source will no longer be viewed as accurate or credible. According to some, relevance may be the weakest point of ABCnews.com simply because of the vast variety of information it provides. Relevant material should mean something and be of importance to the audience. I believe relevance can vary from viewer to viewer, depending on their point of greatest interest. For example, on today’s homepage of ABCnews.com, I first clicked on the Katy Perry picture from last night’s VMAs. To me, this provided relevance, yet many other viewers visiting the site may see that as irrelevant and would choose to click on the Hurricane Irene story.
Newness is of utter importance when it comes to reliable online news sites. Viewers aren’t interested in old news that journalists try to bring to public attention for the second time. Newness literally means news that has not been given before. This doesn’t mean that reporting on the 9/11 tragedy is not new. As long as journalists are providing fresh, new views on important events of the past, viewers will appreciate it and show continued interest.
After carefully evaluating ABCnews.com, I will definitely continue to visit the site as my number one news choice. I like the setup, navigational settings and believe it provides the perfect amount of audience control, including information for viewers of all types. The only suggestion I would make for the site would be to make social media connections more prominent to viewers. By adding bigger, more obvious Facebook and Twitter options, viewers are more apt to get involved and share news with others!