AT&D #20. Print News vs. Online News Stories

What is the advantage or disadvantage to reading a story in an actual newspaper? Does an online version fully utilize the web in the best possible way to tell the story? What ways could make the online version of the story even stronger?

Physical newspaper: The Boston Globe

Online news source:

News story covered: White House Intruder

Both the newspaper and the website cover the same story with similar wording. Furthermore, both make use of quotes by officials and both address the focal point in the article, namely on how an intruder broke further into the White House than previously thought.

Despite these similarities, there are many differences between the sources: first and foremost, the newspaper covered the story at length and with more detail pertaining to how the intruder was caught, what weapons were found with him, and the reactions from the Obamas. Second, the website deviates from the initial focus of the story, where towards the end, the issue becomes almost political (to a point where one representative claims that the issue is neither democratic nor republican but American as a crisis like this endangers the belief that public safety across the country is currently effective).

Finally, the sources differ in that the newspaper is essentially a reading that one has to purchase (and due to this, the quality of writing is presumably better as journalists provide specific details, sometimes exclusive depending on the paper, and is lengthier) and that anyone can visit a website to get a quick glimpse of the news (and by quick, I mean on a smartphone or tablet).

Essentially, the latter source is a free alternative that is easily accessible and arguably more journalistically comprehensive as the online site provides a video to accompany the story and a discussion board for readers to comment on and access public opinion polls (to aid in forming a reader’s own stance on such issue). In that sense, the site fully utilizes the web to strengthen the presentation of the story; however, the online version of the story is still short (and since the video reiterates and sometimes adds more detail to what the written part didn’t go over), it would be helpful if it did cover more in-depth, and holistic information akin to the newspaper article.

Of course, I expect a newspaper to cost money because of the paper printed and extensive details provided to make a reader feel that they have grasped a lot of information but I feel that a news site can do just the same with providing detailed coverage and charge nothing as paper doesn’t have to be used en mass (which cuts the cost of producing news articles dramatically). The site hosting and other fees, I assume, can be covered by a cheap subscription paid out by millions of readers (who are given perks that non-paying readers cannot access) across the country, a service model that already is practiced in today’s age of obtaining the news.

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