NewsTrack #12: CNN uses graphics to tell a story

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This is article is not much of a story in the sense that the article does not take a certain angle into perspective. The article is essentially an objective piece explaining what BitCoins are. BitCoins are a form of currency that allows the buyer to purchase items anonymously. In my previous CNN NewsTrack analysis, I usually criticize CNN for not using infographics or just graphics in general to tell a story. In terms of multimedia, the site highly relies on their video (and sometimes photos) to tell a story.

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However, in this one article posted by CNN, the graphics help tell the story behind “BitCoins”. There are a number of stories regarding BitCoins on the CNN site, however I wanted to highlight this story in particular because of the interesting and visually appealing graphics they use in the story. In my opinion, the graphics themselves are easy to read and understand, however I think their simplicity really adds to the story. I think that using more of these graphic stories in the future will allow CNN to strengthen their content and provide better stories to their readers.

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Newstrack #11: Winter storm aims at East Coast

This entry will be an analysis of a developing news story about the major winter storm heading towards the east cost. This story had great copy with numerous facts and statics regarding the winter storm affecting most of the Southwest. The reader could easily skim through the story and find important details surrounding the storm. Additionally, the video that accompanied the story provided additional details that worked to enhance the content of the story. The video was not a rehash of the story or a condensed version of the written copy. It focused more on the dangers of the storm for drivers and homeowners.

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Although the story and video content was done very well, there are a couple things that CNN could have done to make this story even better. Inserting a graphic would be one improvement I would make to this story. A great visual graphic for this story would be something such as an interactive weather chart depicting where the storm is currently and where it would be heading in the next couple of days. Another good graphic for this story would be a statistics maps showing what areas in the Southwest have been affected the most by the storm. These two elements would allow the reader to get a better sense of what areas the storm is affecting the most and also give the readers a better perspective of how they should go about preparing for the storm if it was headed in their direction.

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An example of graphic that could have accompanied this weather story.

NewsTrack Entry #10: Story Analysis

 Study: There’s no such thing as healthy obesity.

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This was an interesting article that I found had a good video and written story package. The topic was about a new review of several studies that suggested that being healthy and obese was a myth. The story package contained basic background and how the scientists conducted the experiment. The story gave the reader the overview of the study.

This story also had a video that supplemented the information mentioned in the article. On the CNN broadcast, the reporters interviewed a clinical assistant professor at New York University regarding the new study. This was effective multimedia because CNN was getting an expert’s opinion on the issue.

Over all this was a good story package in my opinion, however there was one thing I wish they had included: Graphics. There are no photographs in this story since obesity and weight loss is a somewhat touchy subject. If the story included graphics reflecting the results of the study or something along those lines the story would be a lot stronger and more visually appealing.

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NewsTrack #9: CNN Travel

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Let me just start off by saying I am a big fan of Anthony Bourdain. His shows No Reservations and The Layover are two of my all-time favorite TV shows. So when I saw Bourdain’s newest show, Parts Unknown, broadcasted on CNN, I was really impressed to see the multimedia packages that were being made on the show. That being said, I wish that same sort of multimedia talent was displayed on the travel section of CNN website.

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The CNN Travel has a lot of really interesting stories to choose from on the main page however the page layout is not full of visually appealing elements. The highlighted story in the center of the page is not a dominant feature on the page. The topic and photo for that highlighted story (“10 of the Most Adventurous Cruises”) is not the most eye-catching or interesting story in my opinion. There is a side bar of stories on the left had side that are linked to written stories. These stories, although well-written and have adequate pictures, lack visual interest for the reader.

The right side displays current airport delays current airport delay times. In all honesty, I’m not sure why this feature is there. Readers would be more interested in reading stories or watching videos about different destinations, rather than knowing which airport in the world is having major delays.

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If I were to suggest to CNN how to improve their website, I would focus on making the media more aesthetically pleasing by displaying video content and picture slideshows in the top part of the page and put items such as the airport delay in a small widget at the bottom.

NewsTrack #8: Obamacare Coverage

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One topic that has been covered frequently on CNN and many other news sites is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Today, CNN has posted yet another story about the healthcare reform act. According to the democrats quoted in the article, the Obama Administration has until this Friday to fix the problems regarding the healthcare act.

Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 4.57.38 AMIn regards to the multimedia used to tell this story, CNN did a great job putting together a summary video at the very top of the page. The 2-minute long video gives the audience a clear and concise summary of the problem and the key players that are involved. In addition to the main summary video, there are a couple of other videos that give fuller details about the story. These videos, located on the left side bar of the main story, give readers the opportunity to explore more video stories and interviews about Obamacare.

Another multimedia tool that CNN used to convey the Obamacare story was an infographic. I don’t see a lot of infographics on the CNN website, so I was happily surprised to find one. Infographics are great visual tools that allow readers to get a better understanding of topic. This infographic of the United States shows which states have extended Medicaid options. This visual creates a connection between the content and the reader. The maps allows readers to be more aware of their healthcare options within their respective states.