About 150 Whale Stranded in Australia

The image made by Mashable news
About 150 whales stranded in Australia -Via BBC Online

Biography and Target Audience of BBC

British Broadcasting Corporation was founded in 1922 by a private company and has 2,950 employees by 2017. Headquartered in London, England, BBC is the most significant broadcaster in the UK and one of the largest news broadcasters in the world. Today, the BBC is not only a journalism company with the excellent reputation around the world, but also offers a variety of other services, including book publishing, newspapers, English language teaching, symphony orchestras, and internet news services.

BBC screenshot from the web and mobile phone-Via Similar Web

As a world-wide news company, the BBC provides services in 30 languages and has more than half of the global online audiences. Most of their viewers are cultural curiosity, global perspective, and with high education characteristics. In 2015, the BBC already had 300 million global audiences, and 148 million people watched international content on the BBC each week. Among them, English services countries account for the most significant proportion. According to the SimilarWeb data, the audience of BBC online news mainly focuses on new media related content.

The BBC audience report 2016 (p.33). Via BBC online
The BBC Top 3 language service (p.33)-Via BBC audience report 2016

According to the BBC 2016 audience survey report, it has 51.5% of the UK’s adult audience and maintains 63.3% weekly visits to the UK audience. (p.28)The BBC keeps the pace of the development of the new media, their mobile media users have reached 7.5 million monthly unique browsers.

With the rapid development of mobile media and social media, the BBC has begun a new diversification and comprehensive strategy. On the one hand, the BBC considering increase the audience of women, LGBT, disabled people and black, Asian and ethnic minorities. (P.9) On the other hand, the BBC made research of Millennials in more than 30 countries, and they found ‘the Supercharged’ millennials. The survey results show that millennials have a more strong emotional connection with the brand. Thus, the BBC’s maintained a high degree of credibility and brand protection for a long time may attract millennials.

 

 

 Biography and Target Audience of Mashable

Mashable is a digital-born service, launched in 2005 by 19-year-old Scot Pete Cashmore. Mashable soon grew into one of the top 10 most profitable blogs in the world. Pete was named one of the influencers of the 2010 advertising era and was named one of the most influential figures of the science and technology industry two years later. In 2011, Mashable “With more than 55 million monthly page views, is the largest independent news source covering digital culture, social media and technology.”(Mashable Media Kit,2011)

 

According to Time’s report, Mashable became the most popular blog in 2009 which focused on social media. By 2012, Mashable had 20 million unique users each month, worth 130 million pounds. In 2014, Mashable has been planning a major expansion outside of the United States for a period of time, of which the UK is the second largest countries. Unfortunately, due to the problem of advertising operations, Mashable experienced a large loss in 2016, sold to Ziff Davis in the second year, and laid off 30% of its employees.

 

Mashable dual audience data- Via Mashable media kit 2011

Currently, by April 2018, Mashable’s monthly traffic has 30M. According to SimilarWeb’s data, 55% male audiences and 45% female audiences use Mashable to find news. Among them, 15.81% of the audience comes from social media, and 57.14% comes from Facebook.

 

 

Mashable April 2018 visits-Via Similar Web

 

 

 

The social network of Mashable-Via Similar Web

 

 

 

In 2015, 48% of Mashable’s audiences visited through search engines, and their social users drove 36% of readers. Unlike traditional mainstream news, Pete has long focused on new trends in social networking and digital trends. Pete realised that Millennial audiences are becoming mainstream in the social media. Millennials are focused on personal networking and technology and are transforming innovation into a new business at an unprecedented rate. According to Mashable media kit, its primary audience is Millennials from 25-34.

Mashable target audience data- Via Mashable media kit 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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【Original work is bellow】

Introduction

This news analysis article contrasts a news from mainstream news of the BBC and the participation news Mashable on March 23rd about the whale stranded in Australia. This article first briefly introduces these two companies. And then, it will analyze the two news in detail which from the aspects of journalistic content, online delivery, and technical delivery.

 

The first page of BBC news

 

BBC

BBC, British Broadcasting Corporation, was established in 1922 and is headquartered in London. It has high and extensive reputation in the world. (Craft,2018) According to the data released by the BBC in LinkedIn, there are 27,393 employees. In 2012, BBC Online News landed on various media platforms and launched an online-only channel in 2016. According to the National Audit Office data, there were 12.6 million active users logging in to BBC online on 31 October 2017. The audience of BBC online is distributed evenly across all age groups, with 24 to 35 more, and most active users are women. (White, C., Morrell, G., Luke, C. & Young, P, 2012)

 

Journalistic Content and Technical delivery

The BBC news “Hamelin Bay: Nearly 150 beached whales die in Australia” accurately and clearly pointed out the location and key information, and show the report time under the heading. The news content also describes the follow-up action that how people saving whales. Below the official content, there are related tags, “Whales” and “Australia”, which helps viewer could find out more relative information.

 

This BBC news can be found in ABC News, The Sydney Morning Herald, and other mainstream media, thus the news is credible. Secondly, the relevant news links, which includes the BBC’s own reports and other media reports, has increased the credibility and professionalism of the information. Accurate descriptions of time, place, and key characters make news easier to find in search engines. (Bradshaw, 2017) Although the BBC’s text is brevity, there are too many videos inserted in the text, which makes the text information incomplete and fragmented, which is not good for the audience to scan the whole news. (Bradshaw, 2017,p.80)

 

There are four links which length and wording are appropriate, so that the audience can quickly understand the general content of the link. (Bradshaw, 2017,p.81) However, these links not open in a new page after clicking. This is an uncomfortable experience for people who need to step back to the original news. (Bradshaw, 2017)

 

I mentioned in the past that the BBC used too much video in this news. In addition, after the video is played, user slides the page down but the video still stay at the top of the page. Some users may want to see the follow-up content instead of watching video when they slide down. The played video may harass the user even if he can be turned off. In general, however, these videos and news content are related, which helps user understand the content of the news.

 

Online Delivery

Advertising is an indispensable part of web news, but if it is not properly used, it will lose the appeal of the news itself to readers. (Yang and Oliver, 2004) In the interface of BBC News, there are not too many advertisements, one banner advertising above the title, and others on the right side of the content. The content is mainly related to natural sciences which related to the topic of the news. In terms of layout, the banner advertisement and menu take up 2/3 of the space. Users may not be able to quickly find the title and content, and they must slide down to see the content. I think this interferes with the reader’s experience to some extent, but it is not excessive.

 

In recent years, more and more users have received news from social media platform, so the connection of online news and social media has become important to journalism. (Bradshaw, 2017) The BBC’s news set up a social media platform connection at the end, with a logo icon, and use the text “share this story” to attract readers attention. The iconic colors and logos allow readers to quickly understand which platform they share, and save the space as well. But the first button link is useless, which will give the reader an uncomfortable experience. Although the following social platforms are worked, users may give up to trying because the first one is not work.

 

In addition, this news did not show the author or contact information. If readers hope to become volunteers after seeing this news; or if they want to make some suggestions, they cannot find the way to. Bird (2011) suggested that in the web2.0, journalists should pay more attention to audience participation. However, there are no areas that can be commented in the webpage. Therefore BBC need to improve their interaction function in online news.

 

The first page of Mashable news

Mashable

Mashable is a global multi-platform media company founded by Pete Cashmore since 2005. The company has a total of 28 million followers on social media. (About Mashable, 2018) According to LingkIn data, Mashable has 653 employees and its headquarters is located in the United States. As a digital born service, Mashable devotes a lot of energy to social media, and its news is more oriented towards life and entertainment. Their main followers are in social media. (Crunchbase, 2018)

 

Journalistic Content and Technical delivery

This article title is “More than 150 whales strand themselves on Western Australian beach” when I first found it. But when I opened it after two days, the title changed to “Volunteers and wildlife staff race to help surviving whales stranded on Australian beach”. The URL was consistent with the changes before, and I could not determine the reason for the title change, so I will only analyze the content which after changed.

 

This contentis similar to the BBC in the use of texts, links, and multimedia, so it will not be described in detail.

 

The difference is that at the beginning of the article, the author puts a link in bold blue words, and the content is about ocean acidifying. The use of color and bold is a good way to attract users attention. However, this connection does not open in a new page but jumps directly. In addition, the content of this link has weak relationship with whale’s stranding. This less relevant link can mislead viewers and even lose their appeal. Even more frightening is that non-relevant links will make readers believe that news is not professional and credible. (Bradshaw, 2017)

 

 

Online Delivery

Between the text and tag is a car equipment advertisement that is not related to news. I think this insertion is unreasonable. Firstly, the advertisement position is inserted in the middle of the subject and the tag, which misleads the viewer to think that it is important information. Secondly, advertisements and themes are completely irrelevant, which can cause viewers to feel disgusted and even question the professionalism of the news itself. (Yang and Oliver, 2004)

 

Unlike the BBC report, Mashable’s article gives author information, including photos, names, and links. The author’s home page can see the contact information. Therefore, in today’s increasingly important participative news, it is very helpful to strengthen the reader’s and author’s contact for the interactivity of the website. (Bird, 2011)

 

In addition, as a social media-based website, Mashable has set a variety of platform buttons at the bottom of the homepage, but only Facebook, Twitter and a “+” button which near the news content. You can see other sharing platforms after clicking the “+” button. However, the reader may not click the button and will mistakenly believe that there is no other way to share and give up sharing. Bradshaw once said that one of the characteristics of online journalism is fast browsing. Users do not spend too much time in an interface, if they cannot find the features they want, they will quickly choose to give up instead of try finding. (2017)

 

Interface Design in BBC and Mashable

The design of the two news websites is similar, thus I put them together to analysis. Structurally, they both use banner advertising under the category bar, above the headline, and, on the right side of the page. However, in Mashable, banner advertising occupied almost half of the screen. I have to sliding down three times to make the advertising disappear. Such advertisements cover the content that readers want to see may cause user’s annoying. The size of BBC advertising is more reasonable. In terms of color matching, they are all white backgrounds and clearly show the content. The recommended content all set in right and bottom, and different background colors which told users the information is other content.

 

Conclusion

This article made a detailed analysis of the news of the whale stranding by the BBC and Mashable. In general, the BBC and Mashable are objective, credible, and professional in terms of text, links, multimedia, and social sharing, but there are still some details that need attention. Their interactive design still needs to be improved. Considering that BBC’s use of links, video, and advertising is more closely related to news, I think it is more professional than Mashable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference

About the BBC. (2018). 100 Voices that made the BBC – The Birth of TV. Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/historyofthebbc/birth-of-tv

About Mashable.(2018).Mashable. Retrieved from: https://mashable.com/about/

 

Bird, S. E. (2011). Are we all producers now?: Convergence and media audience practices. Cultural Studies, 25(4-5), 502.

 

Bradshaw, P. (. j. (2018). The online journalism handbook: Skills to survive and thrive in the digital age (Second ed.). London, [England];New York, New York;: Routledge.

 

Craft. (2018). BBC Profile. Retrieved from: https://craft.co/bbc

 

Crunchbase. (2018). Mashable information. Retrieved from:

https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/mashable

 

History of the BBC-2000s.(December,2012).BBC. Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/timelines/zsgv34j#zwtmxnb

 

National Audit Office. (December,2017). The BBC’s understanding of its audiences and users. By the Comptroller and Auditor General. Retrieved from:

https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/The-BBCs-understanding-of-its-audiences-and-users-Summary.pdf

 

White, C., Morrell, G., Luke, C. & Young, P. (2012). Serving all ages, the views of the audience and experts.BBC. NatCen. Retrieved from: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/diversity/pdf/serving_all_ages01022012.pdf#zoom=100

 

Yang, H., & Oliver, M. B. (2004). Exploring the effects of online advertising on readers’ perceptions of online news. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 81(4), 733-749. doi:10.1177/107769900408100402

About Ziyan Song 5 Articles
Ziyan Song is currently studying Master of Digital Communication and Culture at the University of Sydney. She did some research on new media audiences and game. Feel free to contact her. E-mail: zson2723@uni.sydney.edu.au Facebook: Ziyan Song

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