Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New York Times Print, Online, and USA Today

When comparing the New York Times print version to the web edition, most of the same stories are published, but the layout is entirely different. When my eyes met the New York Times online, right away my mind was struck by one word: Busy, busy, busy! The home page of the New York Times is decorated in countless stories, covering every possible surface of the computer screen. In contrast to the print editions front page, the home page of the New York Times online doesn’t highlight a few central stories. Instead they present to you every possible option of news, resembling the layout of a contemporary drive thru menu with maybe one to two specials that are in a slightly bigger font. This approach can be overwhelming to new readers and makes the print version look much easier to read.

The print version has less to offer as far as amount of information. The online version is being constantly updated. Readers are able to see how often the website has been updated on a feature called the Time’s wire. The Time’s wire indicates how many times the website has been updated in the past 30 minutes. Being able to publish the newest information received within minutes is just one benefit of online publishing. They can also use video journalism to better illustrate stories. The power of being able to see and hear individual insight takes stories to a different level.

On Top of that, the process of locating an archive of past and present stories becomes possible because the online version publishes everything the print version does and more.
Now NYT even has a feature that that allows the reader to customize a list of his/her specific interest sections and receive those regularly. What advantages!

When it comes to website layout, USA Today’s home page has much less content, making it easier to approach, however their stories are less detail oriented. When reading USA Today’s report of Fort Hood on November 10th, I wasn’t able to get a good grasp on the story. NYT offered a detailed report that was much more satisfying.
There is also something to be said about the difference in the way that USA and NYT began their reports on the Fort Hood memorial service.

President Obama and his generals told a crowd of 3,000 soldiers Tuesday that the Fort Hood massacre stands as an incomprehensible military tragedy — one that happened "in the comfort of home."

President Obama took on the role of national eulogist on Tuesday for the first time since assuming office as he led the country in mourning 13 active and retired soldiers gunned down not on a foreign battlefield but here on their home post by one of their own.

NYT begins with a story, depicting Obama as a eulogist leading a nation. USA begins with unseasoned narrative. I’m sure you can see how a simple description added or left out can alter the way a person perceives a story.

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