CNN Website Content Analysis

1st impression: The homepage of CNN is very cluttered and has a lot going on, making it difficult to know where to start. It lacks a single, strong article with a bold headline that grabs your attention. It downloads quickly for the “3 second rule” but could stand to be more engaging.


Credibility: Some of the sources used in the article, “Buzz ramps up over SEAL’S bin Laden book,” were from Twitter rather than direct quotes from an interview. This negatively impacts CNN’s credibility and is representative of the way journalism has come to favor immediacy over content. As a whole, the content seems accurate, unbiased, and is coming from a reputable news source.

Transparency: The author remains anonymous and does not let his or her personal voice or tone come through in the article. 


General writing style: Overall it seems pretty objective. The article is not biased and the author makes a point to include quotes that both praise and criticize the release of the book.

Identify with readers: The author reports the facts, but also includes links to tweets and a Facebook fan page that is relevant in the story. It is evident that the author is using social media to connect with the audience.

Getting the point across: The author gets the point across early on in the lede and he then goes on to show the pros and cons of the book release.

Arranged: The article is arranged as a reverse pyramid, with the most important, eye-catching part of the story at the top of the article. A reader could get the gist of the story without reading the entire article.

Designed for scanning: Yes, it is good for scanning because there are bold words and hyperlinks that lead you directly to quoted tweets as well as the Facebook fan page that is referenced in the story.

Layered: The article includes hyperlinks and a video from 60 minutes—a reputable source.

Consistency: The style of writing, use of graphics, and hyperlinks remains consistent throughout the site. Some articles contained more hyperlinks than others.

Headlines: Headlines are clear and bold. On the homepage there are two, bold headlines as well as many smaller headlines on the left hand side of the homepage. There are many headlines listed that seem to get lost within the clutter of the homepage.

Links: The “SEAL” article contained many links, which were somewhat distracting to the story.

Multimedia: The CNN website does a good job including other relevant multimedia when appropriate, such as the 60 minutes video clip. This video is listed above the article and enhances the article without distracting the reader, in that it is optional for the reader to view.

Packaging: CNN includes hyperlinks that link to relevant content, giving the readers the option to look more in depth into the article if they so desire. For example, they link you to details about the book they discuss in the SEALS bin Laden article.

Graphics: On the homepage, the graphics are cluttered, and discourage use because their placement makes them look like ads that one would want to avoid clicking.

Stand on its own: Yes, the navigation is easy to use and the tabs are specific and lead the reader back to the homepage.

Contact/Interaction: The comment section is located at the bottom of the page and is not readily accessible unless a reader is looking for it. Readers have the ability to share the link on Twitter, Facebook or  through Email, which shows that CNN sees value in the social aspect of the internet. 


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