Finding the “Just Right” News Source

Flipping through digital news sources, I’ve come across three websites that fit the descriptors of “too hot,” “too cold,” and “just right” within my person choices for catching up on the news. Whether it be small nuances in font boldness, headline content or homepage color scheme, read on for my sometimes insightful, most likely absurdly-specific comments on the elements that dictate where I read my news.

  1. Slate Magazine: Abundant headlines, subtle bias. Slate Magazine, in my opinion, is the quintessential example of a news source to which you would be directed from a shared Facebook post. Its articles and headline are entertaining, though I would consider this particular news source to be aimed at an audience below my level. Upon recently visiting the site, I was a bit surprised that Slate’s tagline is “Politics, Business, Technology and the Arts,” as the majority of visits I have made to the site focused on pop culture and trend coverage (that may say more about the links I click on Facebook than the site’s content itself). Considering observation alone, the site’s bold headlines in addition to the subtle bias present in each headline’s word choice indicate that Slate is not necessarily a site I would refer to for informative and insightful news. Further, there is no snippet of text included under each headline, which I have found helpful in dissecting the actual content of an article, more so than is evident in the bolded headline.
  2. The New York Times: Worth the weekly dollar. I subscribed to the digital edition of The New York Times early this summer as I realized my days at a desk job could be used to catch up on the latest news as opposed to (or, more realistically, in addition to) watching those fun, instructional food videos. I’ve found The New York Times to be my ideal source of news for a number of reasons, but most specifically, it offers a small challenge while avoiding intimidation. When I read the news, I want to not only be informed but also challenged in a way that makes me consider varying ways of writing, reporting, or expressing opinions. My experience with The New York Times has been as such, through my interest in its coverage on politics and media business, as well as the insightful and thought-provoking editorials. I appreciate the format of the website itself, with the homepage displaying subtly bolded headlines that list the author as well as a short glimpse at the first sentences of the article. As stated above, I appreciate these “sneak peeks” as a way to further understand the premise of the article, more so than the sometimes-confusing, but rarely subjective, headlines lead on. On a more personal note, I appreciate how the homepage resembles an actual newspaper. The simple white and black is appealing, as is the traditional font. It is a nice way of keeping the tradition of print newspapers while adapting to the digitization of today’s news industry.
  3. The Economist: NOPE. The Economist is a perfect example of a site that carries impressive news coverage (I believe it was rated as one of the most trusted news sources across varying ideological groups) that I have absolutely no interest in pursuing beyond the homepage. I believe that different news sources cover current events and happenings through a certain lens that their audience identifies with, and though I cannot specifically identify which “lens” The Economist conforms to, I’m very sure it is not one I identify with! Many of the front page headlines use language with which I am unfamiliar, and the topics of many of the leading “headlines” cover topics that I do not have the foundation of knowledge to find interesting. Furthermore, carrying on the somewhat superficial theme of appearance I noted in the last paragraph, I’m not a fan of The Economist’s grey and red design. Perhaps my dislike comes form its similarity to the scarlet and grey of Ohio State…just kidding, realistically it’s because I simply don’t like the color scheme. What can I say, I put strong emphasis on aesthetically-pleasing design when choosing my preferred news source, perhaps more than I should!

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