Originally published in The Clarion | March 30, 2011
This week we will take a look at our third defined category of Web content – News. On several occasions I have mentioned that the definition of the word news has changed or evolved over the years. I imagine one way of elaborating on that comment would be to say that what today’s media outlets consider to be news might not be or is not necessarily everyone’s definition of the term. A recent example would be the escapades of the actor Charlie Sheen. While I’m sure many people found his situation intriguing, I’m sure there are just as many or more who simply could care less. Regardless, information about his situation has been persistently shoved at us via all of the major media outlets for several weeks. While typical television news broadcasts only have an allotted amount of time to present news to their viewers, the Web has proven to be quite a different medium for presenting up-to-date information to those requesting it. Actually, the fact that a Web user must request certain information has changed the entire landscape of news presentation when compared to television, radio and printed media outlets.
By definition, news is information about recent and important events or informal information of any kind that is not previously known to someone. Using this combined definition, it is pretty easy to see how most any current website could be considered a source of news. Sure all of the major media outlets have attractive, up-to-date websites that present breaking news seemingly immediately as it happens. On the other hand, the Web is full of subject-specific sites that present timely information to their visitors. While you may have a favorite site that provides recent information and articles about your favorite hobby, someone else might have a favorite that centers around their favorite entertainment personality. With current information virtually at our fingertips, the Web has increasingly replaced television, radio and print media for many people. There have also been many traditional media outlets (primarily print) that have moved all of their publication to the Web, allowing them to provide content that is more up-to-date without the costs of publishing and delivering their product in traditional manners.
One of my favorite subject-specific news sources on the Web is arstechnica.com – a technology website. Throughout the day, every day, the site is updated with current articles from the field of information technology. While some articles do not appeal to me, the ones I do have an interest in are almost always very well thought-out and relevant to not only my job but personal interests and hobbies as well. I am confident that someone would have a difficult time not finding a website that is tailored to their personal interests. That’s just one of the beauties of the Web – it allows people who share common interests to easily find, share and build on specific topics of interest.