Same story, different approaches: Who will prevail?

How do you write a story thats already been written?  That’s the one question that’s been on every journalist’s mind, during the 2018 Winter Olympics. The United States will win, and she will lose. How do we write a compelling, new story?

CNN tried to join in on the coverage through its third party: the Bleacher Report. They posted a story on Mikaela Shiffrin winning a gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Using a lazy lede and dull quotes, the story is a hard read. You can get all the information you need to know from 140 characters, so why would you read the Bleacher Report’s extra long piece, that lacks any form of multimedia?

In contrast, the New York Times took a swing at the same, classic story of someone winning a gold. In this case, the Times graphic design staff stepped up to take the story to the next level. They show Mikaela Shiffrin, among other skiers, in a real time graphic/gif, to highlight how the USA team member led throughout the race. The graphic isn’t simple: users can hover over different animated skiers to see the team and name of Shiffrin’s competition. Shiffrin herself has a time stamp of how fast she was going at any given spot during the race. The graphic was educational – and more than just a pretty addition.

So far, CNN has failed to take a more compelling approach to its Olympics coverage, especially considering their Shiffrin coverage. I do see hope, however, in their “Twitter timeline” set up on their home Sports page, where users can scroll through contributor’s tweets and get bits and pieces from on the ground in a fast fashion.

I hope to see CNN take more advantage of their on the ground reporters, and be more innovative with their reporting. Sometimes it’s as simple as embedding some toothy tweets in a wordy piece. There’s always an interesting way to tell a story.

The Eagles aren’t just the winners, they’re the warriors.

Sports enthusiasts, regardless of what team they’re on, need something more to chew on other than “The Eagles won.” CNN took a step away from generic “here’s what happened in the game” coverage, and offered a nuanced analysis of the game, in a “a 10-point stance” by one of the sports writers. By talking about the political actions of players after the game, the potential downfall of the Patriots’ dynasty, and a database of ACL tears that happened this season – the coverage offered a mix bag of information for readers to pore over.

A disclaimer: CNN’s sport content is provided by Bleacher Report, a sports news network that aggressively covers the topic with analyses and breaking news reports. Understandably, the sports coverage on the site differs from other coverage because it is deeper, and more niche.

 

I thought the listicle approach to post Super Bowl coverage was interesting, but would have appreciated further coverage in certain areas. For example, the reporter, Mike Freeman, leads with the Eagles players that have become social justice warriors. He touched upon the incendiary topic that players can often speak their mind about race, politics, and Donald J. Trump, while staying and playing on the field. Freeman’s short take opened a can of worms, and I for one would have loved to hear more about what this precedent means for sports in general.

The mixed bag approach to coverage also can be confusing, we start off with a headline about politics and football, and end with Minneapolis’ weather. If a reader came to CNN with hopes of getting a sound recap, this would be the wrong place.

In the end, it depends on what the consumer wants, and it’s up to the news organization to do its very best job guessing what exactly that is. In this case, I think CNN/Bleacher Report took a risk by offering a strong 10 point commentary on a very aggressively  covered sports event.

Plus – who wouldn’t click on a piece that calls the Eagles, the warriors?

A look into CNN’s mission as “the most trusted name in news”

CNN is a news organization that hopes to be a leader in information delivery, whether through its television coverage or online news site presence. A stale, pretty generic definition if I’m being honest.

A look into CNN’s “About Us” page shows a stale statement on the company’s 24/7 coverage with worldwide bureaus and staff. Recently, however, CNN has transitioned to a highly aimed mission statement, due to recent events and tension with the current Trump administration.

CNN renewed its contract to unbiased journalism by emphasizing a “Facts First” mission, slapping the idea of alternative facts with a minimalist advertisement.

The advertisement, showing a standalone apple, says the following:

“This is an apple. some people might try to tell you that it’s a banana. they might scream banana, banana, banana over and over and over again. They might put banana in all caps. You might even start to believe that this is banana. but its not. This is an apple.” The screen shifts to say the words: “Facts First” followed by the CNN logo.

The advertisement was looked at by pundits and consumers as an attack on Trump’s tweets and his often inflated and erroneous “alternative facts.”

A further explanation of the ad says that opinions matter, “they don’t change the facts.”

The ad, which promises that CNN will report the facts, versus opinion, first, has been criticized by conservatives and journalists due to the company’s overwhelmingly biased coverage of Trump.

As it shifts through various multimedia technologies and and platforms, CNN continues to try to brand itself on its longstanding history as “the most trusted name in news.”

Does that brand still work?

As CNN continues to focus on an expansive and overwhelming agenda of negative, and sometimes  fluff coverage on the current administration, consumers can see its reputation, and consequently its mission, go down. While it may prioritize the idea of facts first, a lack of balance and a tone of negativity, will make even the real facts appear tinted with bias.

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Can a burger bring back net neutrality?

 

Here’s something to chew on: Burger King’s latest menu addition is a political statement, with a side of parody – hold the pickles.

On its homepage, CNN flashed the headline: “Burger King trolls net neutrality repeal with Whopper ‘fast lane’ ad.”

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Like most consumers, I’m used to the Burger King name being associated with Cheeto Cheese fries, or dollar menu deals, not a political statement. This article reels you in because of its unique content,  organized efficiently, coupled with an effective video of the ad.

Using a show, not just tell, type of story structure, CNN pulls the reader in with its large video display, and bolded lettering. Audio automatically plays when you click on the page. There is a bolded webhead underneath the video summarizes the story, to give the reader a fast indicator on whether they want to keep reading.

 

As shown in the video, customers walked in and were told that they had to wait 15 to 20 minutes if they wanted normally priced food, or they could pay $26 for faster service. It was supposed to be parody of an internet ruled by no net neutrality, where providers could make senseless price jumps for access to content, in this case, burgers.

 

Welcome to my blog!

Thanks for joining me! I’m Natasha Mascarenhas, a student at Boston University and intern at the Boston Globe. In this blog, I will be exploring my passion for journalism, as well as tracking the latest updates in the very nerdy, very lively news world.

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”