Welcome To Shak's News Track

Tracking boston.com for a number of weeks has been fun. The Boston Globe didn’t change much overtime except changing my mentality about the online news. Its homepage is still the same, the same old, traditional and static. I don’t remember any single day when I didn’t visit boston.com but only to check the weather updates flashing on the top left corner of the homepage.

Internet has changed the view of the world and the audience have become global which requires online media to play gateway for the communities scattered around the world. To be very honest Boston Globe hasn’t really been able to satisfy my thrust for diverse news, except emergency breaking news. Surprisingly the print version has really been good with more global coverage.

I acknowledge they do have the simplest homepage with less load of ads but they need to make it more attractive to draw more readers. At times I got bored with the site but didn’t give up with hopes to see something new each day. The site does has some interesting sections but for a new user there is a lot of search work to do. The breaking news are even too congested and headlines are hardly fully visible I wonder why don’t they utilize the left-over space on both sides of the page. It is a newspaper of an international ranking and in my opinion its tech-guys and editors need to change the direction of their priorities if they are to lead the new media’s competitive market.

Tracking Boston Globe has however been a wonderful learning experience  and I will keep checking it out with the hope to make it my browser’s homepage someday. I wish GOOD LUCK to the news website especially when they are busy working on their paid version of online news.

 

The Globe Videos

Here is something I have discovered for the first time since tracking boston.com. The website has collection of hundreds of videos posted under its “Today’s Globe” link. These videos are uploaded by the Globe staff and feature news, movies, music, tech lab and lifestyle.  

 

Once you reach the video page you completely forget if you got here through a news website. The videos start with a few seconds ads, but surprisingly I could not find any comments of feedback form on the page. I think they should provide comments form to make the feature more interactive.

It’s so cool and I wonder why don’t they keep this feature on their homepage. Why is it buried in the back garden.

Here is the link, click and enjoy!!!

Boston Marathon 2011

More than 100 years old Boston Marathon is on the way and all the news organizations are planning to cover the event which is only a week away. Boston.com is well ahead in its creativity.

Boston.com has created a link ‘Marathon’ on its sports section and it is further divided into sub-links like updates, results, photos, blogs and course guide etc. The fan feature immediately draws the attention and invites prospect marathon runners to record their own voices, add their photos, videos or stories for why they are running the marathon. It is also featured with a filter where you can explore the stuff of your choice like, young, old, men or women bloggers only etc. I think its interesting to use it if you are catching up on a particular group.

Apart from the rest, another most interesting and very useful feature here is the interactive map under course guide link. When you click on the map, it provides easy guideline to the route, distance, expected time of arrival and even from what spot to watch the marathon best. When you click on a particular location on the map, it shows the landmarks to make it further easier for the user to identify the location. I am really curious to know how they created this map. Here is the link to the map.

  

The only thing I feel it lacks is the ‘zoom in’ or ‘zoom out’ option, but perhaps this is not the purpose of their map. Marathon page is already full of blogs, photos and comments but let’s see how they actually cover the event. This could be their last Marathon coverage for free as the proposed plan for the paid news is already on the way.

Being On The Top!!!

Baseball season has just begun. It doesn’t matter how well the Red Sox are gonna do this year but Boston.com is definately going to cash all the credit by offering live score updates on its website.

I have noticed none of the other competitors like New York Times, The Washington Posts or LA Times are offering such a  feature thus for The Globe its good way to go with the flow. It is the simplest link on the homepage with more details if you click on live coverage.

Enjoy the sport-enjoy the stay, if you really can’t catch up on the telly this season.

Enough is enough, there is nothing free in this world anymore. Many newspapers are launching paid websites as they seek new sources of revenue in the face of declining print circulation and advertising. 

The Boston Globe will also divide its digital presence, pumping up 16-year-old Boston.com with social media and headline stories, while putting most newspaper content behind a paywall at BostonGlobe.com. Accodring to the Globe’s site management team subscribers to the print edition will also be able to access BostonGlobe.com at no additional charge, while a digital-only subscription will be available at a yet-to-be-determined rate.

Not a good news for the news-review lovers but still it may not much affect the glancers as Boston.com will continue its focus on being a ‘One-Stop-Source’ for everything on the front page including weather updates, breaking news, sports as well as classified advertisements.

Boston.com has already introduced user registration; but will soon combine it with paid registration for BostonGlobe.com, this will let advertisers target by demographics and behavior across both properties.

The Globe, like many newspapers has struggled in recent years as more readers and advertisers have moved from print to online. Pushing each brand in separate directions may make each of them stronger. The look and feel of BostonGlobe.com will more resemble the print newspaper, with fewer and less intrusive ads and a more elegant design that may appeal to brand advertisers.

In my opinion its actually another way how business is finally getting down to the business. Press today is not a charity but a serious business. What market response do they get after the split, remains with us to see in the near future.

Here is the link for quick visit to the BostonGlobe.com

Full Multimedia Coverage

Last week Japan was hit by the strongest earthquake in Japanese recorded history. More than 6,000 people have been confirmed dead or missing after the disaster that flattened much of the country’s northeast. The crises further deepened after the explosions in the country’s four nuclear plants raised concerns about the public health and rescue worker’s ability to act in the affected areas. According to the Japanese’s government they are facing the worst disaster of their history.

The media and news outlets have been quite active in reporting the whole damage. Boston.com has not been behind from any other website. It is offering full-fledge coverage since the first day. It has made best use of its online resources and multimedia options.

The homepage offers slide show of photos after the disaster including rescue workers struggling, crying victims and the levelled land. This part draws reader’s immediate attention after the page loads. The pictures are updated regularly and the captions explain all what is in the being seen.

The website also has uploaded very useful and short video clips covering the country and its sufferings.

The earthquake and tsunami has changed the nation’s appearance on the planet. Boston.com have placed a Google map on the homepage showing the aerial view of the country before and after the damage. Its an attractive and creative way of showing the comparison between ‘then and now’ what happend in Japan.

The news headlines and articles are an addition to the rest of the coverage. The page also contains plenty of other links connected to Japan’s news updates and comments or general feedback from the public.

Japan is facing the huge challenge of controlling the situation after the blasts and fire on its nuclear plants. Residents are being screened for possible exposure to the high radiations from the explosions. The Japanese government and aid agencies are struggling to send food, water and medicine to millions of quake-survivors. Millions of others are still without water and electricity.

The boston.com apart from its news coverage is standing side by side with Emergency Fund Raising Agencies and NGOs. It has  ‘How to help’ link on the homepage which provides list of authentic US and non-US aid organizations that can be contacted to send funds or good to Japan.

To help Japan Click here

 

Interdependence+Variety

Online open-interactivity has given a new life to journalism. It offers a common platform for the writers and the readers to interact and help each other with only a little bit of effort. It’s a tool to cover what is usually neglected by the print and broadcast media. Pet’s section on boston.com is an example of this mutual contribution towards neglected part of our everyday life. The page is reserved just for ‘Pets News’ with a number of sub-sections in it. It is comprehensive and simple. Editing team offers the opportunity and community enjoys the privilege by filling it in.

It’s not only a small space allowed for community to upload their pet’s photos but it has got discussion board, pet’s shops, pet’s memorials and a free advice centre for pet’s health too.



‘Pet’s memorial’ link offers an insight state of the members emotional attachment to the pets written by theirself. The discussion, comments and blog links are an additional fuel to the fire. People not only share their memories once but they become members and regular trackers.

I am sure it brings them a lot of ads revenue from the pet’s business world too. Its a creative way of offering varieties to the users and getting journalism out of traditional Pandora Box too. One thing I couldn’t find is any videos. In my view if they can add this feature to the page too it will make the section more interesting.

Check it out here

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