I had a few main takeaways from my assigned news outlet, which was CBS42 in Birmingham metro and central Alabama. Newscasts are about telling stories that people will want to hear about. As expected, the staff of CBS-42 only chooses to cover stories that they think people will find interesting. Some common examples of news stories included the weather, such as flooding, tornado threats, and snow, unexpected deaths, crime investigations, etc. My favorite stories covered murder cases and crimes. I just found these to be very engaging, compelling and intriguing. In my opinion, the writing in the stories was generally clear and understandable. I liked how all stories had a video posted first and then words underneath. The words helped me follow along while watching the video news reports. In each video, reporters were always at the setting of the story. This proved to be extremely helpful for a visual person like me to understand it better.
Mostly police officers were interviewed in the crime stories, and I thought their quotes added credibility to the articles. Even if an average person on the street was interviewed in one story, I would be more interested in reading the article. Quotes are extremely effective to stories and without them, the reader doesn’t feel as connected to what’s going on. If the reader hears from a human being, he or she is more likely to relate to that person’s situation. The professional journalists of CBS42 news did a great job of providing quotes for their stories and intriguing the reader.
The “special reports” section offered more interesting and unique stories besides the everyday news articles on weather and crimes. These special reports were usually posted once a week; sometimes once every two weeks. I never found a boring special report. For the overall user friendly scale, I would give it a 9 out of 10. I liked the website and it was generally easy to find interesting stories. Things didn’t seem to be too jumbled or compacted on the page, which was nice. The simple layout appealed to me. Furthermore, I enjoyed viewing the link to “mugshot of the day” under the news tab. On a scale of 1-10, I would also give CBS42 a 9 for information quality.
When I reflect on what CBS42 did poorly, not many things come to mind. Perhaps they could write longer stories, as most of them were pretty short. In some ways Other than the stories being short, I thought they did very well. I wish they could do special reports twice a week or everyday. I would read them.
One story that I thought exemplified the good qualities was “Blind Wrestlers Work Hard to Overcome Obstacles.” This special report captured my attention the most because it wasn’t a typical news story on a local flood or a man getting arrested for sexual assault. Two male teens were interviewed who attend the Alabama School for the Blind. Wesley Baker and Ryan King were both born blind, but that hasn’t stopped them from achieving their goals on the wrestling mat. Their wrestling coach was interviewed as well. As the reader, this story inspired me and I felt more of an emotional response rather than just being informed on what is happening in the areas around me. Nothing stood out to me as bad, however, I thought the author could’ve added even more details and information to this story. That being said, sometimes if stories get too long the reader can become uninterested. It’s difficult for writers to know exactly how many words each story should contain. I felt as though I understood what was happening with the blind wrestlers. If the author added specific results of a wrestling competition with those two male teens raising a trophy, I think that’d be icing on the cake.
Another interesting story that displayed good qualities was the special report entitled: “Is the texting and driving ban being enforced?” The author interviewed a state trooper and a captain of the Hoover Police. This was one of many stories structured by interviews and facts. I could relate to this story because I have texted many times while driving my car. It’s good to be reminded of the danger of texting and driving. Again, the video at the top of the page helped me to visualize the story. If there had just been the words, it would’ve been more boring.
The stories I’ve covered this semester have been more intriguing than I initially anticipated them to be, especially the special reports.