Uber halts self-driving tests – BBC News Online and The Verge journalism comparison


This paper is a critical comparison between the BBC online news and TheVerge about the Uber crisis after its driverless car killed a pedestrian and to analysis it mainly through journalism writing, online delivery and technical delivery of both websites. The proposal of this analysis is not only make a comparison but identify the most effective and engaging way of online news coverage.


1.Biographic information and user analysis

BBC Online News:  http://www.bbc.com/news

BBC logo

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), founded by John Reith in 1922, is the world’s largest broadcaster for public service. The headquarters locate at Broadcasting House in WestminsterLondon, owned by the British Public. BBC News is one of the company’s service section without paywall and it gathers and produces national daily news, business, political and current affairs which is also responsible for the continuous news channels such as BBC News Online. According to Alexa’s TrafficRank system, in July 2008, BBC Online was the 27th most popular English Language website in the world, and the 46th most popular overall.

Screen capture from Alexa: https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/bbc.com#?sites=bbc.com


About BBC audience, from the United States’ 24.2% to Australia’s 1.9%, from China 12.5% to Japan 6.9%, over half the global online audience subscribe the BBC frequently.According to the BBC website, there are two targeted groups which highly attractive by the platform are worldly achievers and culturally curious. These groups of audience share similar characteristics. For instance, high level of wealth and education, a global perspective.

BBC audience info from Alexa
the most engaging audience of BBC



Theverge: https://www.theverge.com/

theverge logo

The Verge, founded in 2011 which is in partnership with Vox Media, an American multinational digital company, is a technology news and media network without paywall, and it covers diverse intersections such as technology, science and culture. Its offices locate in Manhattan, New York City and it was created by Joshua Topolsky and then be taken over by Marty Moe. The vison of this website is to provide readers highly quality stories, breaking news coverage, etc by using its own proprietary publishing platform.

audience geographic from Alexa


As for TheVerge audience, the statistics from its website shows that the curious, the super-followers and the people who care to go deeper with coverage are the website services for and around 500 million minutes of video content watched per month. From the Alexa’s Traffic Rank System analysis of Theverge audience demographics, audience that the age between 18 to 34 are the most engaging groups as the amount above the internet average. It is also shows that a large number of them are young people who is doing their degree or people who just graduated from college and get start with career as the most popular browsing location is in workplaces.

theverge audience education info from Alexa


theverge browsing location in from Alexa


the audience age groups info from Alexa
  1. Stories comparison

– BBC news of  Uber halts self-driving car tests after death 


  • Journalistic writing and content production

Overall, the BBC article presents a simple and well-organised story with a clear title and lead as well as a connective structure, appropriate expressions.

In terms of accuracy and source credibility, one inaccuracy is in the byline no author’s name and email address were provided, only the published date. From my observation, some of news stories are published without author information. It is strange for such the world largest broadcaster.

Screen capture of BBC news title

The article used multiple types of embedded links to other related stories. There are three tags- driverless cars, Uber and companies. But what provided in the “companies” tag, such as a story of “glass milk bottles” and “a toy retailer” piece were not relevant to this article.

To enhance scannability of article by the techniques such as using subheading to break up the article and using bullet points, can deliver ideas more clearly and always work brilliantly online(Bradshaw,2017).

Visually, the feature image was clear to represent story. The following image is about a self-driving car at Google HQ, which is response to its subheading, but as this is an accident news report another image choice such as an experiment of driverless car would be attractive more than it.

  • Online delivery

The BBC provides different options of sharing to other social platforms such as Facebook and Tweeter, showing its high multimediality. Same features were founded in its mobile version as well.

Interactivity feature was showed through the direct quote to the stakeholder- Uber’s tweeter posting with a click-accessible link. However, as it mentioned before, it was unavailable to find out the author and the contact email, besides, comment function for audience limited the audience engagement, thus, less interaction with both viewers and the author.

  • Technical delivery

Again, this is a well-structured story. Easy to find this article through the ‘Business’ category. One practical suggestion as this story is about autonomous car technology’s issue, so classic it into “Tech” category would be more clear and functional. Further, although embedded links in this story were related, it was embedded too much, as a result, readers would probably easily be interrupted by those linked articles.


-Theverge story of  Uber halts self-driving tests after pedestrian killed in Arizona 



  • Journalistic writing and content production

To compare with BBC, Theverge story also appears an appropriate story-telling column. Unlike BBC piece, Theverge provided a byline with the article’s author and his email address to effectively enhance its credibility and expression is accurate as well.

This news added quite an unnecessary subtitle which is similar with its main title while a news title should be keep clear and unambiguous(Bradshaw,2017).

There are a few of embedded links for a quick indication to connecting with background material(Bradshaw,2017).  However, the font colour of these links should be in grey or blue rather than the current pink colour. This is because light colour more easily to catch the audiences’ attention when they are reading the news.

embedded links

There might be cross categorised risk. Because sometimes this news was classified in “More” category, but sometimes not, which is confusing to find it by filtering the categories. To make it belongs to the “Tech” part would be appropriate for searching.

breadcrumb navigation and navigation menu


navigation menu
  • Online delivery

Similarly, Theverge provides a clear social sharing button which is links few social media platforms. The feature image was an unclear-logo vehicle. Besides this, a dynamic advertising was featured at the top of sidebar. To enhance multimediality, one possible solution is change the feature image to a more attractive one or change the order with the second picture.

feature image


embedded image


Comparing with its mobile version which has a button for view comments, the online article automatically showed all those 227 comments. As it is essentially to keep interface simple and easy for viewers review the news content, to upload a selection button to provide audience a choice whether to view the comments or not. Although it is an interactive method to share everyone’s opinion, people do not want to passively consume content online (Bradshaw,2017). Besides, the scannability would be effected as there is no one-click button for go back to the top of article.

  • Technical delivery

As mentioned before, all embedded links were related to article but none of them could open in a new tap. Functionally, this would probably make audience hard to review the original story or to read original one and linked story at the same time. Overall, this website was readable and easy to operate and if the category could be clear to classify this article, the useability can be improved significantly.



To sum up this analysis, both articles appear delivered a good angle of a same source. As a reader, personally, the BBC news have attracted me better as it did well in utilizing bullet points to break up context and bold those embedded links’ font rather than changed to other colours. The byline information about the author was missing and make the article lose a little bit of credibility and interactivity, though, visually the banner ad and other advertisements were not simply presented and did not catch readers’ attention much.



                                                                       Word count: 1368



Alexa“Top English-language Sites”. Archived from the original on 16 November 2007. Retrieved 12 July 2008.

 Alexa“Global Top 500 Sites”. Archived from the original on 25 November 2007. Retrieved 12 July 2008.

Bradshaw, P., & Rohumaa, L. (2017). The online journalism handbook : skills   to survive and thrive in the digital age. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy1.library.usyd.edu.au

“This is BBC News”. About BBC News. BBC. 13 September 2006.Retrieved 12 July 2011.

“The Verge Site Info”Alexa Internet. Retrieved August 1, 2016.















About Bihan Hu 6 Articles
Mater of Media Practice student in USYD/ Chinese & Korean Simultaneous interpreter/ Freelancer of drama scenario translation

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