My final NewsTrack post was two weeks ago, finishing out with a story on ESPN’s use of data in news. Over the course of the semester in JO304, I have scrutinized ESPN in many ways, and I have learned a few things in examining a website so closely.
First, I learned it is possible to update too frequently. Though ESPN is a sports-based news service and sports is a news topic that needs constant updating, if you aren’t following that exact game or event, you’re going to be swamped with too many updates that you don’t care about. ESPN should just retweet a few and direct users to other, more specialized twitters regarding football or baseball. That way, users can personalize what they want to learn about.
I also discovered that ESPN is very much set in what they cover, though I guess that goes for other sites, too – you write for your audience, and ESPN writes for sports fans. I suggest to ESPN to write more for casual fans, as it would expand their potential audience.
I found that being straightforward about the content of a video or an article makes me trust a site, and misleading me makes me want to find somewhere else to get my news.
I found that editorializing should only be found if that is what you are searching for, and word choice is an important part of news stories – being objective should be every journalist’s top priority.
Finally, I learned that if you spend enough time with any site, you will find issues with it. My entire class participated in critiquing a site each week, and everyone found faults with their site. No site will be perfect, and someone’s personal preference will always rank one site over another. The main goal of all news sites should first and foremost be to present information as clearly as they can to make it accessible to all readers and users.
I have enjoyed spending a semester with ESPN and I know if I ever had a sports question, I trust ESPN to answer it for me.