NPR: a narrative of multimedia

In Uncategorized on September 13, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Upon arriving at, the first thing visual to the user is tri-color National Public Radio (NPR)  logo which remains in the upper left-hand corner while navigating through the site. The rest of the page is not particularly colorful but instead features text and a gray and black navigation bar.

The main stories and teasers on the home page all provide text snippets, but also seem to have to bring in a bottom multimedia link for more information. As a whole, the home page appears to provide opportunities for the user to gain part of the new narrative though the additional information.

There are no embedded videos on the home page, which I thought was slightly unusual. Most news site and large online sites usually feature at least one push-to-play video. There are, however, a number of photos that one can click on as the page continues downward.

I wanted to hear more of their audio multimedia, as they are known as being primarily a radio station, so I clicked on one of the home page’s listen now links.

The link opened up a separate media player to hear the audio. I was actually disappointed to see the additional box because it works to seperate the story and the multimedia rather than unite them. I also think that having a photo or short paragraph from the story located next to the audio player would  have helped to remedy this separation.

However, when I clicked on the view full story I found more of the united piece that I was looking for. Again, no video, but the combination of photo and text with a couple of audio options I think presented a good package. It was part of NPR’s political coverage and I also enjoyed the way that the page was laid out.

Social media is embedded with a constantly changing twitter feed and a suggestion bar blog roll for more commentary and information. I like that these elements were included because I think that they are part of the story too. Because politicians are supposed to represent their constituents I think the ideas and comments of the public, as presented in social media and blogs, are a part of the larger political story.

As I navigated through more of the NPR site, I also enjoyed the way that all links opened up new boxes. When I clicked on the view full story, I did lose the previous multimedia player, nor the home page. This made it easy to keep track of everything that I was reading and looking at and not get lost from piece to piece.

I think that the way that having these boxes open throughout my navigation of both text and multimedia helped my reading and news gathering more cohesive and made getting lost and distracted more difficult.

  1. I agree with what you said about social media. While it doesn’t always have a place in the news (i.e. Twitter should not be used as a source, as CNN sometimes does with their broadcasts), it is an interesting use of it. Politicians are using social media as a means of communication with the public they are representing, and it is an opportunity for news outlets to share these public exchanges with the rest of the public. It’s also not a bad idea for the media to operate their Twitter, Facebook, etc. in the same manner.

  2. Good analysis! I have the same organization so it was nice to see someone’s else view on it!

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