Heather: Third Post for Group Project
Out of the six sites I looked at (the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Denver Post, the Omaha World Herald, the Providence Journal, the Oklahoman and USA Today), USA Today and the Denver Post stick out as being the best at using new media technology and the best overall, in my opinion. These two sites used space much better than the other sites and they incorporated multimedia, podcasts and other new media the best in their overall layouts. I was also much more comfortable moving through their sites than I was with the other sites- I feel they were laid out logically and I found things easily. The multimedia options enhanced the sites rather than took away from them. Overall, they seemed more professional and more “well-done.”
One of the things that these sites could do differently, in the case of the Omaha World Herald and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, would be to run their own sites that contain information just for their specific newspaper. Not only was it harder to find these two sites, it was much more difficult to navigate through them than the others. I realize that using a different site to run your newspaper might be much cheaper for these smaller, more local papers, but I feel the investment would be worth it if there were enough online viewers.
As far as what these sites are doing well, I would have to say the “social” aspect of these sites, for the most part, is very good. All the sites I looked at had some sort of “social” aspect to them where people could comment on stories, email stories to friends, “Digg” or rate stories, etc…They should all keep this up. Letting readers get involved can only help these papers, in my opinion.
In my opinion, USA Today was the overall “best site” because it was laid out the best, it was easiest to navigate through, it utilized multimedia and new media the best, it had an overall “professional” look and out of all the sites, I would go back to this site on my own at a later time. I might have felt more connected to this site because it was more national rather than local news, but surfing this site still stands out as the most enjoyable out of the six.