Findings from The Guardian in JO304

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Prior to this semester, I almost never read The Guardian. I would look to other publications and news sites for my daily news; however, after spending this semester tracking and analyzing the content presented by The Guardian, whether through written pieces, tweets or pictures and videos, it is clear that the company has persistently worked to include various progressive perspectives while catering to the concerns of the public. These are the biggest highlights and lowlights I’ve observed so far.

1. Broad Range of Platforms

The Guardian does a great job of utilizing different platforms to spread news. Whether it’s through pictures, videos, podcasts, Facebook or Twitter, each of these platforms is constantly updated with the most recent news. For instance, The Guardian released an in-depth podcast on EU citizens in relation to the Windrush generation and the Brexit vote. One particular strength of The Guardian’s podcasts is that they include a brief written piece that thoroughly summarizes the gist of the podcast. Additionally, if you find yourself without enough time to access the latest news online, both The Guardian’s constant Twitter updates and its mobile app make it easier to get the latest news.

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2.  Explainers

The Guardian has a strong explainer section, especially in the video category. All topics in the explainer section are a surprisingly balanced collection of both hard and soft news issues. In addition, The Guardian’s video explainer section ultimately makes it easier to fully comprehend what’s really happening behind both nationally and internationally controversial issues. A more recent example of this is the visual explainer The Guardian used to describe those who make up the British Windrush generation.

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3. Text and Visuals

The Guardian could improve the number of visuals they incorporate into their stories. Most written pieces only include one photo under the article’s header, while it would be more helpful and easier for the reader to process the written material if it were evenly complemented by additional relevant images. Not all of their articles are structured this way. Some include more visuals than others, but overall, I think readership would increase if blocks of text and images were properly combined.

4. Audience Assumptions

The primary audience of The Guardian typically involves educated individuals aged between 21-34-years-old. I feel that many of The Guardian’s articles automatically assume that the reader has certain knowledge of an ongoing political crisis, without first summarizing what the issue is and what it means. This is why “explainer” sections are extremely helpful when it comes to news sites. Though The Guardian has an “explainer” section under it’s video section, the explainer section doesn’t cover all of the controversial topics presented on the site’s home page. This isn’t to say The Guardian needs an explainer section for its written pieces, those same pieces can simply be made more comprehensible if The Guardian actively aims to do a stronger job of describing and summarizing the issue before delving into how it affected a particular official or aspect of a greater issue.

5. Moving forward

Ultimately, The Guardian has done an excellent job of honoring its mission–consistently organizing society for the common good, while working to open themselves to the concerns of the public. While it offers a variety of topics, including news, opinion, sport, culture and lifestyle, the publication also effectively covers news across several different platforms. The content presented in The Guardian, whether soft or hard news, is typically easy to digest; however, The Guardian could do a better job of including more helpful visuals to go along with their written pieces. Overall, The Guardian’s effort at giving a voice to the voiceless is clear.

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