Internet News Layout Issues
I apologize for my AIM being up there on the right, but here is one of the dangers of the immediacy of online news.
This is a screen shot of The Washington Post from March 23 of this year. If you visited the site, there was a feature they had been running for some time that tracked all of President Obama's appointments called "Head Count." It was very interesting and made it easy to follow what was going on, but at times, it can be an insensitive and inappropriate header for the day's news.
I do not know how this picture will turn out on the blog, so if you cannot see what is below the picture of a fire, here is what it says:
Headline: Plane Crash in Montana Kills at Least 14
Caption: FAA says several children are among the dead after single-engine plane goes down near Butte's airport (AP/The Montana Standard, Martha Guidoni)
A related link is "Two Killed when Cargo Plane Crashes in Japan
The way the layout looks, it is as if President Obama is killing people considering there were 14 who died in one crash and two in another. The fatal accidents right below "Head Count" sure makes Obama look culpable. What is worse, while the "Head Count" banner extends past the picture, the text does not, and lines up perfectly with the photo box, headline and captions.
In doing my examining for the final paper we are doing, I see quite different layouts between my paper and the Post. However, while it is easy to keep a successful banner and feature up, someone who is doing the Web editing, or producing, needs to take a look at the layout and the news that goes up for every update.
One other note on this is that on a column to the left where they have "MOST VIEWED ARTICLES," the same story is updated with a different count on those who died in the plane crash featured on the left. While there is software that allows different pods to contain different material (one subject being "hits"), it just does not look good to have conflicting stories, especially when a featured store is already outdated.
I apologize for not getting this up when it happened, but I am glad I took the screen shot of it. Sometimes Internet layout problems are funny, other times they are insensitive.
Please share your comments if you have any!
Posted by Michael Jaffe at 5/05/2009 01:31:00 PM