The following is a critical analysis of two Community Media blogs, namely the Waltham Forest Echo and the Bristol Cable.
Regarding the Waltham blog I have been looking at the article: The Sound of Syria. First of all the site is mobile friendly, which is a big plus as an increasing number of people access the Internet via their smartphones. However, the site is missing scalable fonts, which is an accessibility issue. On the positive, the article can be accessed in ‘reader view’, which will definitely help those who are visually impaired. Not all websites are enabled for ‘reader view’.
Now to the article itself. I found the heading short, precise and eye catching, mostly perhaps because of the word ‘Syria’ and ‘sound’, and especially with the picture right under the shirt blurb. Generally we are associating Syria with the sounds of gunfire and rocked propelled missiles. It is therefore a refreshing sight to see ‘sound’ and ‘Syria’ associated with music.
It is not unusual to find spelling mistakes even amongst the great media sites such as the BBC and others. It is therefore not surprising to also find some problems with the Waltham site such as follows:
Regular music activity provides relief from the stresses caused by their traumatic experiences and
encourages friendships with other young people. This project will culminate with…
Obviously, this has slipped the proofreader.
I particularly liked that the article links to ‘Music arrives at St Marys’. The register of language is good and it is written in simple language, though not overly familiar. It keeps a good balance. This is important as this type of media has the local population as its target audience.
It didn’t escape me that the entire article was a kind of endorsement for the St Mary’s Music Hall. I found the booking link at the end of the article a useful feature.
All in all, I found this article a good example of community media journalism, though a few improvements could be done.
The Bristol Cable
This site is quite different in terms of layout to the Waltham Forest Echo. It is not as mobile friendly and has an awkward look and feel to it. It appears that it is using the wrong template. It is not really a mobile template but is rather a desktop template which also displays on a mobile phone to some extend.
The front page is not really a front page. It is rather a list of blog posts, whereas the Waltham Echo has its own logo and branding, the Bristol Cable has little of this. It looks therefore a bit more amateurish. This, of course, says nothing about its content.
The photos also have a more amateurish look and feel, not well balanced. Moreover, there is little separation between the various blog posts on its front or landing page. One doesn’t immediately know where one blog post starts and where one ends. A simple separation line might do the trick, however, this is again an issue with the template.
I have chosen to focus on an article with an interview of Brexitannia film director Timothy George Kelly. It’s an interesting article which makes even use of an embedded video clip. What I found interesting is that the author, Lorna Stephenson, true to Timothy George Kelly’s film, uses only black and white photography.
“Thinking in binaries is reductive and it doesn’t work. It’s not left or right, leave or remain,” says Kelly.
Kelly chose to shoot in black and white because he was “playing with the idea of referendums – they’re a binary”, he says. It also gives a historic feel to the film, which he says contrasted with the way that many of the interviewees didn’t seem to realise quite how historic the events were.
The article starts with an informative blurb, not too long, not too short.
Lorna Stephenson’s style is easily readable and she uses several quotes from Timothy George Kelly’s interview. Maybe she could have used a few more. I found it helpful that the article was broken down into easy readable paragraphs.
I found it helpful that at the end of the article Lorna presents a link to a Facebook Page with information where the film can be watched as well as to the program of the Bristol Radical Film Festival.
All in all I found this a good written and balanced article, a less formal approach in comparison to the Waltham article.