NewsTrack Recap: The Guardian – London

Updated 04.26.2016

For the Spring 2016 Semester in my Online Journalism (#jo304) class at Boston University, we were assigned, at random, a website to monitor for the duration of the course. I drew The Guardian – London as my NewsTrack Website and have been viewing it each day to see what news is being reported.

Overall, I was not impressed by the website. However, I will give it the benefit of the doubt. Let me explain. All the pressing, global news phenomena that happened this semester (i.e. Super Bowl, Brussels Bombings, etc.) was nowhere to be found on the site. The reason being, this site is meant to monitor LONDON news only. And in that regard, the website succeeded. Here are my pros and cons for The Guardian – London.

  • CON – There were tons of stories about the London mayoral race and the Gatwick Airport expansion protests, but there were no eye-catching stories. Readers of the site would not only have to be living in London to be interested in the site, but would also have to be enthralled by very specific happenings in the city.
  • PRO – The website did an excellent job at covering the big news stories in London. From the housing crisis to the mayoral race, London’s biggest news was sure to be on the website.

Zylinski

  • CON – For readers who want a scope on global news, do not visit The Guardian – London. Go to the parent website The Guardian.
  • PRO – As far as design and concept, it was a rather easy sight to navigate. Stories were color coded based on genre, and it was extremely user friendly.

Guardian 2-29

  • CON – One issue I found is that it is very strictly hard news. Rarely will an entertainment, sports, or editorial show up on the page. The lack of variety was troublesome.
  • PRO – Overall, what the website did provide was very well written and well presented.
  • CON – One final gripe with the website was that there was no presence on social media. The parent website certainly is on social media, but The Guardian – London is nowhere to be found.

In closing, it was fun to be able to monitor an international online news source and getting to see how news is presented in another country. But for the purpose of the NewsTrack assignments, The Guardian – London was a big flop. The only time I will visit that site in the future would be if I lived in London.

NewsTrack Post 6: Reaction to the Brussels Bombings from The Guardian – London

Updated 3.23.16

Following the horrific terrorist attacks at Zaventem Airport in Brussels, the media was ablaze with updates and stories about the bombings. On Tuesday morning, the top story perhaps all over the world was the Brussels Bombings. That is, except for The Guardian – London.

On Tuesday, the website published five stories, of which none concerned the attacks in the Belgian capital. With the safety and well-being of many Europeans in danger, the only thing readers of The Guardian – London found were stories about the housing price increase in the city, an obituary, and an update on the mayoral election.

How can such a respectable news organization not cover one of the biggest stories of the year?

Guardian 3-22

Well, it wasn’t until Wednesday when the first stories about the bombings began to be published. Two articles, in fact, were published discussing the violence in Belgium. One about how to see the events in a wider context and the other about a man being arrested on suspicion of involvement.

Both articles were very well written, but much too late to be considered relevant coverage. To make matter worse, the articles weren’t published at pique news times. One was published nine minutes before midnight, making it available for morning, but not for anyone to read it immediately.

Two compelling stories not only a day late, but published at the wrong time.

So far, after eight weeks of monitoring The Guardian – London, the one word I can use to describe its coverage of MAJOR events is Disappointing. However, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. It is a London-specific website, so although The Guardian had ample coverage, the London branch was not immediately affected by the tragedy.

NewsTrack Post 5: Spotlight Wins an Oscar and The Guardian – London Remains Indifferent

Updated 2.29.16

Journalism is one of the most influential and powerful institutions on the planet. So when Spotlight won the Oscar for Best Picture, it was a huge victory not just for the film, but for journalism as well. Journalists are there to tell life’s untold stories and is the main bridge between readers and the world. It was truly a monumental day not just in America, but across the entire planet.

Meanwhile, across the pond on Monday morning, readers and subscribers of The Guardian – London, one of UK’s most reputable news organizations, read about how fire crews trained for emergencies and about floating solar farms. Not one word was mentioned about Spotlight winning an Oscar. In fact, the award show itself wasn’t even given a story.

Twitter followers of the The Guardian’s UK News section remained in the dark…as they have for 714 days. That’s how long it’s been since the site tweeted.

The United States section of The Guardian’s website had plenty of Oscar coverage and it was very comprehensive, but it was appalling not to see any hint of care from the UK website.

Guardian 2-29

It’s unfortunate that The Guardian – London doesn’t share more American news. Even though it’s readers and the site are more concerned with what happens in the city of London, events in America have an effect on the United Kingdom as well.

Although the Oscars might not have as profound an effect as a presidential campaign, the same movies are shown in England and British film fans still focus on the American awards shows just as Americans focus on the UK’s. It’s rare to see any U.S. news on The Guardian – London anymore, and frankly, it’s unbelievabl

NewsTrack Post 4: How The Guardian – London Uses Video

Updated 2.23.16

Online Journalism has its advantages over traditional journalism in that you can use multiple forms of media to tell a story. One way many media outlets are turning to for sharing a story is video. The Guardian – London uses video frequently to deliver the news.

One recent story that used video was about London Mayor Boris Johnson’s father talking with BBC about his son’s decision to back Brexit as an attempt to increase his chances of becoming prime minister. The story was a way to tease a BBC Radio Interview along with two other articles about the situations.

https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/politics/video/2016/feb/22/boris-johnsons-father-says-son-did-not-back-brexit-to-boost-career-video

By using video of the most important line in the interview, not only did The Guardian draw an audience for that particular story, but for the other two articles linked to the description and the interview itself. This story is effective in getting the message across.

One story that probably would have been more effective with video is a feature entitled What Really Goes on in The City of London. By utilizing video, it would have been better at showing readers what does happen in London. The feature itself is very well written and was published with a separate photo gallery. However, instead of photos, video could have been much more effective than still pictures.

NewsTrack Post 3: London Political Campaign Heats

Updated 2.14.16

While the presidential campaign race rages on in America, politics in London are about to get interesting. As the London mayoral election approaches, one man, Prince John Zylinski, seems to be the most fiery candidate.

The property developer whose family was uprooted in Poland during World War II, Zylinski entered the news back in April 2015, when he challenged fellow politician Nigel Farage to a swordfight duel in Hyde Park.

His election to mayor would be beneficial to Londoners as they endure a housing crisis, which is one of the biggest recurring stories in The Guardian – London.

ZylinskiThe story about Zylinski was published as a Sunday feature, appearing on the site at 6:00 p.m. GBT. The time which this story was published might detract from the viewership of such a well-written article. The feature is a perfect combination of comedic analysis and factual evidence.

 


Another big news item that hit The Guardian – London website this week concerned the group of Heathrow runway protesters being sentenced to prison time for their actions. While protesting the construction of a new runway at London’s Heathrow Airport, protesters trespassed on a live runway and chained themselves to a rail.

Heathrow13The #Heathrow13, as they are being named, are expected to be sentenced to prison, which is outraging citizens. The stories about this incident have popped up recently, and as the trial extends, it is expected that more will be hitting the website soon.

 

NewsTrack Post 2: No Super Bowl Coverage by The Guardian – London

Updated 2.9.2016

For Londoners, sports have been an increasingly growing phenomenon. Football in England has been popular since the late 1800s when the first clubs were formed. That’s the real football. American football has recently poured into English interest, and with multiple games being played at London’s Wembley Stadium every year, the NFL is becoming big overseas.

So naturally, when the biggest football game of the season comes around, this would pique the interest of Londoners, right? Wrong.

The Guardian – London, in the week leading up to the Super Bowl had an alarming lack of coverage, publishing a total of zero sports stories over the week. Topics such as “London Cabs vs. Ubers” and “A Bus Explosion Staged for a Movie” got week-long popularity, but nothing was said about the Super Bowl.

On game day, when there should have been a preview story or something to tell Londoners about the Super Bowl, there was nothing related to the game on the dockett. The following Monday, there were no recaps, scores, highlights, or mentions of the game at all.

Guardian Feb 7-8

The lack of coverage from The Guardian – London was alarming and very disappointing. What might the reasons for the complete lack of coverage be?

Well, for starters, kickoff the Super Bowl was at 11:30 p.m. in London, much to late for any morning stories. There were no London links to players in the actual game. And finally, the website is more of a hard news outlet than a sports website.

Given all these reasons, it is still unbelievable that The Guardian – London had a lack of Super Bowl coverage. Especially when London-based band Coldplay was performing in the half-time show for the first time, premiering a song off their new album.

The Guardian – London had a disappointing week of coverage for the Super Bowl.

NewsTrack Post 1: Initial Analysis of The Guardian – London

Updated 1.28.2016

The website I have been given to monitor for the semester is The Guardian – London. Publishing only about five stories a day, the website focuses on big events happening in the city of London. The website’s layout is very reader-friendly and incorporates easy-to-read highlights along with photos of the article.

In terms of multimedia, The Guardian incorporates several podcasts into its coverage of London news. The podcasts vary in subject and have a running time of about 45 minutes. The podcasts are designed to appear easier to readers in headline view. Normal news stories are in white while podcasts are in black. One podcast is about books and is hosted by Amy Liptrot and Emily Chappell. Featuring an introductory article, the podcast about books is quaint and features an image of Stonehenge.

There is usually one multimedia item (i.e. podcasts, videos) per day on the website. Videos are a critical part of the way The Guardian reports news. Videos are of all different lengths. One recent video featured protesters hosting a “die-in” for refugees at Pancras station in London. The video is short and effective at telling the story to readers, showing exactly what protesters were doing, from marching to the actual event and even some chants.

The website recently employed a color coding method to make it easier for readers to explore content. This helps to drive traffic for certain stories as well. Since there are just a few stories published every day, color-coding makes it more practical for readers to identify what each story is.

Features show up in dark-pink and are prevalent throughout the website. Four to five features are published each week and their popularity varies depending on topics. Two features were published on January 23. One focused on how politicians pawned the world’s rich, and that received 413 comments and was shared over 2,000 times on social media. The other feature took a look at photos of Jimi Hendrix. This one received only 16 comments and just 802 shares on social media. Had they perhaps spaced out the features by just one day, they each would have enjoyed more success.

Compared to other media, The Guardian published fewer articles, but is more concerned with features and the big stories rather than focusing on every little piece of news. The website is very user friendly and provides a great layout for readers to enjoy taking a look at some of London’s biggest news.