Digital media is a fairly new phenomenon encapsulates everything from multimedia to links. This essay will be critically analysing two journalism blogs on their use of digital media and if they’re using it to their advantage or not.
www.wepluggoodmusic.com We plug good music is a journalistic music blog, mainly showcasing new and emerging music from across the work. It is a journalism blog with a commentary on musicians and their work with a target audience of 18-35 year old music lovers. From an overview of the site it would appear to have a wide audience as pop culture artists such as Drake are featured, this may have a positive effect and could pull in a greater readership of his fans to read their piece about the artist. The tone of the site is light hearted and easy to read which could be appealing for light reading at home or the commute to work as “the internet has made a fundamental change to the relationship between media and its consumers” according to Jones and SLater (2012) so they no longer want length word-heavy articles to read. As this is site is mainly for people to read within their leisure time it needs to be light hearted to ensure that people read it, because if it was a long word-rich piece then people may not enjoy reading it or take the time to read it. Paragraphs are kept short which is exactly what the target audience want on a casual topic like music. Regarding presentation it is very visually pleasing which not only makes it look attractive but also could help engage the reader. Multimedia is used richly and to their advantage, embedded videos and images on a music site allow the reader to see and hear who the article is referring to as well as adding interest to the page. There is a constant Facebook widget, which includes a like button and information on how many people like their page, on the right hand site of every webpage of theirs you visit. This is more than likely to promote their Facebook page in the hope that visitors to the site will like their page. Hidden away on the website is a radio widget which plays music which is being reviewed on the site, which one may believe is a brilliant idea to promote the artists and be a bit more tech savy, but the buttons for this radio widget are quite hard to find which is a low point as they could really have used this radio option to their advantage. A positive about the radio widget being an option and not automatically playing is that it’s allowing the reader to make their own decision on if they want it on or not without intruding on their personal space and making the decision for them and having it auto-running. We plug good music have had a twitter feed since 2009 and it has 20,400,000 followers which allows us to believe they are widely followed because they have such a large number of followers However within the past month the highest amount of retweets they got is 7 which is very low considering their large following, which leads me to believe that the majority of their followers use their twitter feed for an overview and short snippets of information rather than their only dose for the website which leads to there not being much interaction on twitter. The blog’s Facebook page has 12,379 likes and is not used as often as Twitter. There are very few likes and comments on their posts which presents more of a lack of user engagement. Curations are self promoting links to articles on social media, in most cases a self promotional task for their own articles. Their posts on social media which are linked to the original article on their site with the caption being the top four lines of the original post they are linking to. One may believe this to be very unprofessional as the caption should be pulling the reader in and giving them a taste of what they may find if they click on the link, not copy and pasting the introduction. Readers may also find this off putting as they would then be reading the same text twice, which they may not like. This lighthearted reading is more than likely read in peoples leisure time, after work or on the weekends when they can relax and read what they enjoy; however if upon reading an article they have to read the same information twice it not only takes up some of their own leisure time but can also get boring. The site has a comment option under every article, allowing the reader to voice their opinion related to that article which is a good tool as it allows engagement between the reader and the journalists running the site. Unfortunately this option is not being used to its full potential as I could not find a post which had any comments left. According to Bradsaw (2011) links are important in the use of digital media and “allow the journalist to cross-refer to relevant information and related articles”. Within the articles there are only two links on every one, a link to the editors individual information and contact page and a link to buy the single, album, tickets or other that it is writing about which is not good use. More should be used within the article to add depth and expand giving the reader a deeper understanding of the topic or to give facts and figures which would “provide transparency by giving the reader access to where the information came from”, according to Bradshaw and Rohumaa (2011), and more credit for their article in general because they’re showing where they got their information from. Scannability is “key to effective online journalism” and hyperlinks help with this by showing and supporting your argument according to Bradshaw and Rohumaa (2011). As search engines are the most common way of looking up information on the internet, websites have to have good search engine optimization so people go to your site as it is higher up the search results therefore giving your site more traffic to it. We Plug Good Music comes up high on the list of results when searched on Google which is a good aspect. Website addresses are also an important factor in search engine optimisation, if the wording of the address directly correlates to the page for any given article then it perhaps gives the reader a clearer view of what they’re reading before they’ve even read it because it is spelled out clearly within the address for it. ttp://www.acrackintheroad.com/ A Crack in the Road is a journalistic music blog, similar to We Plug Good Music, with a modern cutting edge appearance. Like We Plug Good Music the target audience is music lovers aged eighteen to thirty-five who enjoy the content of this site. The content is lighthearted but with a professional tone throughout, the short paragraphs still allow it to be easily readable. It is well presented, a modern styling and a cutting edge with its appearance in my opinion. The use of multimedia was on every page I visited as well as having page transitions. At the top of every page was a header in which you had to scroll down to get to the page you intended to view, which I think is a good reminder for what site you’re on, it enhances the brand in my view. The articles range from reviews, profiles and introducing, all of which are well written. As all the content is new and not very pop culture savvy, unlike We Plug Good Music, I’d say this has a niche audience, which may be interesting to compare against something with a wider readership. Another reason why I chose this blog was because it was on http://uk.labs.teads.tv/top-blogs/music listed as a top influential blog. A Crack in the Road have had Twitter since 2010 and have 6883 followers. On a single tweet last month they got an impressive 2,700,00 retweets and 1,400,000 favourites on a tweet regarding the small amount of female musicians which are on Reading and Leeds’ festival line-up, which gives us a brief overview of their engagement and interaction with the public. On their list of followers there are a lot of musicians, the festival Bestival and the popular UK radio station XFM which is good as they are music organisations. Their Facebook page has 6664 likes and they post their own articles in curations on their page. Their use of curations is good, they use original text to caption the link and give an insight to the text and entice them to click on it and read it therefore giving them more site traffic and a higher rating. With journalism being a multi-platform section of our society, journalists should be able to write according to the article as well as the platform it’s being distributed on, therefore “you are both reporter and publisher” according to the Online Journalism Blog, Bradshaw (2011). There are videos and pictures embedded on every page which links to an online journalists view (2011) that “These images give viewers a broader perspective and clearer understanding of events than mere words are able to convey”. As you scroll down the homepage there is a row with links to social media elements such as e-mail, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Soundcloud. There are not many widgets used but one may argue if it is not needed because the appearance of the site is so high tech and modern that adding widgets and gadgets to the scenario could destroy the modern image it has. Like We Plug Good Music, links are used sparingly within the articles. Just because an article is a review does not mean that links are irrelevant, links could give more information on the artist who is of topic and give the reader a deeper knowledge which they would not get from the article alone. According to Bradshaw and Rohumaa (2011) “readers are increasingly expecting them” when referring to links, not only are they a useful tool as they give the reader more information but they also stop you risking “looking either ignorant (not knowing the source) or arrogant”. Similar to We Plug Good Music the comment option on the articles are used very infrequently. There may not be enough interest driven by the articles to generate comments. This suggests how there is little user engagement within the blog itself. As the internet is a large information outlet the articles written on it needed to be “written with SEO in mind” according to Bradshaw and Rohumaa (2011). When searched on Google their page is the first in 110,000,000 results which should mean that their audience go direct to their sites quickly when searching rather than having to go through numerous pages of results to find what they are looking for. A positive A Crack in the Road and We Plug Good Music have in common has is the way their articles webpage addresses are directly related to the article; according to The Online Journalism Handbook of Bradshaw and Rohumaa (2011) article URL’s being adapted to search engine optimisation is “search engine friendly” so it brings you to the article link that you want if you searched the keywords which would hopefully be included in the articles webpage address.
Bradshaw, P. (2013). Journalism *is* curation: tips on curation tools and techniques. [online] Online Journalism Blog. Available at: http://onlinejournalismblog.com/2013/09/30/curation-tools-tips-advice-journalism/ [Accessed 13 Mar. 2015]. Bradshaw, P. and Rohumaa, L. (2011). The online journalism handbook. Harlow: Longman, pp.34-38. CJ222 News Reporting & Writing, (2011). Photos play key role in journalism. [online] Available at: https://journalistjan.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/photos-play-key-role-in-journalism/ [Accessed 13 Mar. 2015]. Jones, J. and Salter, L. (2012). Digital journalism. Los Angeles: SAGE, p.55.