11.06.2007

Knoxville News Sentinel

During our class trip to the Knoxville News Sentinel, I realized a few things about the way a news web site works. For some reason I never thought about how the online and print versions are distinctly different, yet still work together so well. I ignorantly thought a news web site was run by one guy at a computer all day flipping already-written word documents onto a template and uploading them onto the web. I was excited to learn first-hand how much different work goes into producing an interesting and smooth news site.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived was the size of the building. I immediately realized it is no small task to write, print and transport thousands of newspapers all across East Tennessee. Once inside, I took particular notice to the newsroom full of cubicles with people writing and researching the day's stories. This was all contrasted when we entered the conference room where the directors and producers of the News Sentinel's web site talked to us about what they do each and every day. It seemed more intimate and close. And more importantly, it seemed more exciting.

Today's society needs everything now - we want instant gratification. Though I don't necessarily want to subscribe to that proclivity, unfortunately it is true for me much of the time. People are too busy for time these days, and web sites give me the freedom to access the information I want, when I want. If I don't want to wait for the 6 o'clock news, I don't have to. This is the beauty of the Internet.

The multimedia director spoke a good bit about staying ahead of the competition, but he wasn't talking about other newspapers or their web sites. He was talking about television stations and their web sites. It was interesting to hear about how they do everything they can to break a story before local television news. But the things that hit home the most were what the online producers talked about.

When they talked about how they work together to come up with ideas, shoot video and make the site run smoothly, I was actually able to see myself doing the things that they do everyday. It inspired me to learn as much as I can about the field of online journalism now, so when I enter a job or start a career I will already have a great skill set to build on.

The Knoxville News Sentinel seems to doing a good job keeping up with the trends. I love examining the home pages of web sites to see how much content is simply one click away. The News Sentinel has a great homepage with features, blogs, columns and additional content at the user's finger tips. The videos and photos add a great deal to its appeal as well. In comparison to other news sites, the News Sentinel can hold its own. And I feel they are a spectacular example of a smaller city's news site. They know their audience, and they know that many people these days - especially my age group - will not read the hard copy of the newspaper, so they give all that information and more using their online medium.

1 comment:

Audrey said...

Great article, Ben, and good insight! I'm glad to heat that you are now more excited about the possibilities that journalism has to offer.
I realize most companies, if we would actually visit the place where it all comes together, would surprise us all. There is always so much more involved in making things happen than we think.
I wish the little men behind the desks could be better acknowledged!