Comparative Online News Journalism AnalysisNews: Woolworths Bans Single-use Plastic Bags on 20th June 2018
Student: Wenwen Bai (460213309)
13 April 13, 2018
Word Count: 1658
This article analyses the news of ‘Woolworths banning single-use plastic bags on 20th June, retrieved from two different online news publications, news.com.au and Wikinews. With the elaboration of biographical information about these two platforms, the news comparisons regarding the performances of journalistic writing, online delivery and digital access are the main content to illustrate.
- Mainstream Online News Publication: news.com.au
According to its online main page (More Information, 2018), this publication covers many fields including the international and national news, such as the area of entertainment, lifestyles, finance, sport and technology, etc. It is organized by News Corp Australia the leading media company in the country, which also targets to the different group’s audiences with the specific news (About Us, 2018). It also cooperates with Worldpress.com VIP. No paywall appears on the website but the cooperation of other advertisement companies. Therefore, it is convenient for people to engage in the news due to the mobile application on both iOS and Android, while the publication also has the official account on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Figure 1. the picture showing the ranking of online news publication with different criteria in Australia in 2018. Source from: a screenshot of digital news ranking on Nielsen. (By Wenwen Bai, 2018).
Significantly, new.com.au ranks the top one among other online publication in Australia (Nielsen Digital News Ranking, 2018), gaining the largest monthly amount of unique audience, 5.4 million (Figure 1), while it isn’t updated on the main page of news.com.au. As for the history of offering online website, it might date back to two decades ago. In the year of 1998, it published the first edition to the world (Figure 2), that the source from the website called Way Back Machine (2018) capturing the old interface of the web pages, led by Alexa Crawls company (About, 2010). Based on the information from Way Back Machine, it shows media type which also named as MIME type or content type (Figure 3). In figure 4, 57.1% audiences come from Australia and male visit the website more than the female while graduates also participate more frequently among other educational levels (Alexa, 2018).
Figure 2. the picture showing the interface of news.com.au on July 12th, 1998. Source from: a screenshot of Way Back Machine. (By Wenwen Bai, 2018).
Figure 3. the summary of MIME-types regarding the website of news.com.au, which is dominated by the text with the percentage of 97.37. Source from: a screenshot of Way Back Machine, about the introduction of MIME-types on news.com.au. (By Wenwen Bai, 2018).
Figure 4. the demography of news.com.au, analyzed by Alexa (2018). Source from: screenshots of Alexa. (By Wenwen Bai, 2018).
News analysis from news.com.au: ‘We know this is a big change for our customers’: Woolworths to ditch plastic bags early
It is a piece of news in short published on April 4th, 2018, only with 500 words to report that Woolworths is going to implement the regulated use of plastic bags on June 20th, the date before Coles. It conveys clearly about the main content what a journalism should talk about, five W’S and an H (Porter, 2006), associated with digital platforms. Basically, it follows the rules of writing for the web from Bradshaw (2017), with the outstanding of interactivity and conservation. In general, it performs over average, under the evaluation of content production, online and technical delivery.
- Accurate, Relevant and Effective
The news written by Frank Chung, finance reporter in news.com.au, provides the comprehensive elaboration of WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY and HOW, to show the accuracy to the audiences. The title cited the speaking from the chief executive of Woolworths, makes the news more attractive to people clicking in, while it also uses the humorous subheading as the perspective of Woolworths, ‘Sorry, shoppers. Woolies is getting ahead of the game and ditching single-use plastic bags ahead of schedule’ (Frank Chung, 2018), to impress on audiences. The journalist writes the body in the third person’s view and cites related people’s speaking to create an objective report, companying with the extra links to other relevant news to help readers to engage in. Video and images embedded in the story levels up the degree of efficiency in absorbing information due to the expanding visual illustration.
However, two things should be noticed that the links are opened in the same page, reducing the friendly reading environment, while there are no tags used in the news, leading to fewer keywords for searching. And the advertisement appeared in the middle of the text makes confused to audiences whether it’s useful or not, though the caption above the video. It would be more visual-friendly if putting the ads in the left or right sides.
- Interactive, Multimedia, Shareable, not User-generated Content
The text achieves the definition by Tapas (2006), hypertextuality, interactivity and multimediality. Hyperlinks are effective to support the point of the news while related documents in 2011(a report written by Edward and Fry, cited by Chung, 2018) and 2012 (a review written by Aspin, cited by Chung, 2018) also providing the extra information for audiences who interested in the topic.
At the end of the news, users are able to contact with the author through Email, at the meantime, they can share it to friends via emails and also on the social media platforms of Facebook and Twitter. If people use mobile phones accessing the news, a bit different sharing options show on the smartphones, Facebook, SMS, WhatsApp and Email. Back to the website on the computers, scrolling the web page to skip the promoted articles, comments area can be found at the bottom, where is a good place to enhance interactions. It is the news on mainstream online publication, so, people have no rights to generate the news on it.
- Well-behaved Technical Delivery
It is functional to access every link in the website while there are many links in the page. Because of the short text, no sub-titles divide the content into groups but the suitable line spacing leading a more readable interface. According to the Alexa (2018), the loading of the page is fast only 1.463 seconds on average, more quickly than other 63% of websites.
- Participatory news site: Wikinews.org
Wikinews initially invented by Wikimedia community as Wikinews in 2003 with only two statements, was launched the first edition in late 2004 (Möller, 2010). Because of unknown reason, the interface of 2004 retrieved from Way Back Machine cannot be viewed, but it is viewable in 2005 (Figure 5). However, there are more images used in Wikinews, which occupied 22% among MIME-types (Figure 6). The news from the website is more shareable to many social media platforms, such as Linked in and Google. Its mobile application is both available on iOS and Android.
Essentially, the publication relies on user-generated content to deliver the journalism in the worldwide so the active user engagement is the most crucial factors to develop the website. It is said the article on Wikinews is sourced, neutral, newsworthy and presenting in news style based on its introduction. People are able to download the journalism as PDF or print it in a printable version. It also provides dotation for users who would like to support it, because of the free access and no other advertisements showing on the web page. Multiple languages are available on the web. According to the analysis from Alexa, it shows many other websites linking to the page of Wikinews with the number of 3811 while Sina connects it most. Besides, demography is also illustrated on Alexa that men are the major audience rather than women while people with lower education are more likely to engage in (Figure 7).
Figure 5. the interface of Wikinews on February 4th, 2005. Source from: a screenshot of Way Back Machine. (By Wenwen Bai, 2018).
Figure 6. the MIME-types of Wikinews showing 67.39% is text content while 22% is image. Source from: a screenshot of the Way Back Machine, about the summary on MIME-types of Wikinews. (By Wenwen Bai, 2018).
Figure 7. the audience demographics of Wikinews. Source from: a screenshot of the analysis from Alexa. (By Wenwen Bai, 2018).
News analysis from Wikinews: Woolworths, Australia moves single-use plastic bags ban date to June 20
The news of the same topic published on April 7th, 2018, in a more shorter text, only 221 words. It is not released timely compared to news.com.au, but providing excellent brevity and scannability (Bradshaw, 2017).
- Moderate Performances of Journalism Writing
Written as the third perspective is a good way to report the news objectively. However, the text is conducted by the online participants that it might be not accurate or credible enough due to the alterable editing. Because of the participatory writing, the official report from other publications is shown at the bottom of the page. Embedded links support the news with the different source, yet it opens in the same page leading a difficult reading to the original article. Only simple images appear on the website, no audio or video source. Although the text not associated with the extra visual material, it is effective to some points for audiences having the clear information on it. Similarly, there are no tags for searching but it has categories to label the news.
In all, simple journalism achieves the easier understanding from audiences but not attractive enough to show the news.
- Interactive, User-generated Content, More Shareable and Multimedial
This news on Wikinews is more interactive than the one on news.com.au, because of the characteristic feature of participatory publication. Users engaging in the web as the journalists, are the most important participants to contribute to it, while they also consume the source as normal audiences. In addition, a distinct reminder of ‘Have an opinion on this story? Share it!” has positive effects to encourage people to talk about it actively.
There are many sharing platforms linked to Wikinews that some of them not linked to news.com.au, such as LinkedIn, Google, NBCNEWS (Figure 8). Hence, it leads to a more hypermedia place for users visiting the web. However, there is no comment area directly shown on the page which might ineffectively communicate with new visitors. And audiences have no access to contact with the author for the reason of cooperated writing.
Figure 8. the links for sharing the news to other media platforms. Source from: a screenshot of Wikinews about the ‘Woolworths, Australia moves single-use plastic bags ban date to June 20’. (By Wenwen Bai, 2018).
- Available, Accessible, Convenient
It is easy for people to use the web that body text in the middle, all functions placed on the left side and other related articles put on the right. Every arrangement makes the delivery efficiently. That relevant information on the right hand is in chronological order, contributing the accessibility and navigation. All hyperlinks in the web are functional but open in the same page. As for the legibility, it could be reckoned as a high-level evaluation of it, on account of the apparent setting of the page.
Both online journalism publications have their advantages of reporting the news because of the different strategies and various target audiences. For news.com.au, it performs more accurate source and reporting the news promptly. And Wikinews interacts with viewers more frequently and efficiently. From my point of view, the performances of the news on these two websites, news.com.au report it more comprehensively.
- About Alexa Crawls. (2010). Edited by ARossi. Retrieved from Alexa Crawls. https://archive.org/details/alexacrawls&tab=about
- About us. (2018). Retrieved from News Corp Australia http://www.newscorpaustralia.com/about-us
- Aspin, M. (2012). Review of the Plastic Shopping Bags (Waste Avoidance) Act 2008.
- Bradshaw, Paul (2017) Chapter 4 ‘Writing for the Web’. In The Online Journalism Handbook: Skills to survive and thrive in the digital age. 2nd ed. Oxon, New York: Routledge. pp 72-98
- Chung, F. (2018). ‘We know this is a big change for our customers’: Woolworths to ditch plastic bags early. Retrieved from news.com.au: http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/retail/we-know-this-is-a-big-change-for-our-customers-woolworths-to-ditch-plastic-bags-early/news-story/49bfa4b53968c89822918c44c792fd02
- Digital News Rankings. (2018). Retrieved from Nielsen: http://www.nielsen.com/au/en/press-room/2018/january-2018-digital-ratings.html
- Edwards, C., & Fry, J. M. (2011). Life cycle assessment of supermarket carrier bags. Environment Agency, Horizon House, Deanery Road, Bristol, BS1 5AH.
- Erik Möller: The history of Wikinews and my role in it Archived 2012-10-15 at the Way Back Machine. Wikinews.org, accessed July 2, 2010
- More information. (2018). Retrieved from news.com.au. http://www.news.com.au/more-information
- Potter, D. (2006). Handbook of independent journalism.
- Tapas, R. (2006), Online Journalism, New Delhi: Foundation Books.
- The analysis of news.com.au. (2018). Retrieved from Alexa: https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/news.com.au#?sites=news.com.au
- The analysis of Wikinews. (2018). Retrieved from Alexa: https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/wikinews.org#?sites=wikinews.org
- The information of news.com.au. (2018). Retrieved from Way Back Machine: http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://news.com.au
- The interface of news.com.au on July 12th, 1998. Retrieved from Way Back Machine: http://web.archive.org/web/19980712024840/http://news.com.au
- The interface of Wikinews on February 4th Retrieved from Way Back Machine: http://web.archive.org/web/20050204052550/http://wikinews.org
- Woolworths, Australia moves single-use plastic bags ban date to June 20. (2018). Wikinews, the free news source you can write. Retrieved from https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Woolworths,_Australia_moves_single-use_plastic_bags_ban_date_to_June_20&oldid=4398740.