Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Analysis of Drudgereport.com (lengthy)

The first thing that stood out on drudgereport.com is how it differs in layout, appearance, and content from other sites the class has critiqued.

The layout utilizes a good deal of white space with no links or menu bar at the top for news beat sections. In fact, they have don’t have them at all. Instead, they have a single advertisement followed by a few stories and a small picture then a headline photo with a link followed by three columns of headlines and pictures. The stories on the page change every day so if a reader misses a story then they have to pull up the previous day’s page (located at the bottom) and then find the headline. It’s very inconvenient. They also use a font that resembles what you might see on a typewriter giving adding a “Unabomber” touch to the site.

It’s simple in appearance and almost bare. The use of white space and the absence of articles make it easy to distinguish stories from advertisements, which I liked. There are only headline links and a few pictures divided among three columns under the headline picture. I liked this feature of the website and thought it worked well for keep a reader interested. However, I kept feeling like I was missing something and there should be more.

Drudge report does not have its own content, rather it’s a website designated to highlighting what stories a reader should know about that day and from where they should be reading them. For example, when clicking on the link “CA on the brink,” the reader is taken to LATimes.com. Each link does not open in a new window or tab, making the process of constantly being navigated away from the site very annoying. So the reader has to be conscious when clicking on links to open them in a new window or be aware that they will have to type in the URL again after they finish reading the article. I did like all the news links, news blogs and news search engines on the page. However, the layout and font for them drove me nuts.

I don’t like a website that does not have any of its own content. This website looks like a prototype for the social networking newsfeed sharing that we have now via facebook, twitter, dig, etc. However, at least with social networking you have your peers and it’s a community of people choosing the stories. On this site there is a single man for which there is no information about anywhere on the site. In fact, when clicking on his name at the top of the links for blog pages, it simply refreshes the webpage. It doesn’t even go to a blog. Most of the work he writes is quotes with a mention of where he got them but no background or explanation of the context the quote was given. I don’t see the journalist aspect of this. He’s taking other people’s stories and setting his own agenda with them. I cannot trust that and it irritates me. However, with the simple layout and the feeling of not being overwhelmed with information, I can see how this site would appeal to so many people. I say that begrudgingly. I just hope these readers have supplemental new sites in addition to this one.

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