- Some tabloids online are very popular – the Mail Online was the World’s biggest newspaper website in 2012.
- Social media is used by most tabloids online, inviting readers to share articles and comments with their friends.
History of British Newspapers – Chapter 20
The rise of the internet was the catalyst for many drastic changes in almost every industry. For instance, online short term loans are almost a completely different product to those offered in shops. Newspapers also transformed into something quite different online. In this article, we will look at tabloids online, and how they have developed their websites.
Let’s take a look at the following tabloids online:
- The Mail Online
- The Mirror
- The Sun
- The Daily Star
1. The Mail Online (Daily Mail)
The Mail Online was regarded as the World’s biggest newspaper website in 2012 with 45,348 users. The previous year it was noted as being the second most visited English-language newspaper website in the world. With the progression of time and a total of 189.5 million visitors a month recorded in 2014, it is now ranked as the most visited newspaper website. It is free to read and largely funded by advertising revenue. The majority of content from the print newspapers (Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday) is included in the online version, thus featuring a lot of content which is accessible for free.
The structure of the Mail Online’s website
The website does appear to be packed full of content on first glance. The menu tabs alone show there is a multitude of options available and each of these options have submenus.
At the top of the page, the number of Facebook likes is visible as well as the name of the paper’s Twitter account along with their Pinterest name.
The date and weather follows and underneath is the newspaper’s online title, which is simply ‘Mail Online,’ along with the date and time of when the website was last updated. Having this visibility is good as you can see how up to date the news really is.
The lead article focuses on a celebrity figure and underneath the summary is an indication of how many times the article link has been shared. It also displays the number of comments that readers have made, 1,400 in this example. All of the features on the right-hand side are celebrity focused.
There is an invitation for stories to be sent to an email address, and this is another way the paper is enabling interactivity. Readers are invited to share their news directly with the newspaper.
Breaking news from around the world is featured through video content which is accessible and share-able.
The website is very appealing aesthetically, with text headings in blue and the main text in black but also with the logo links to social media avenues. You can see at a glance how many people have commented, and you can also leave a comment if required.
This website enables readers to log in with their password and email address, or via Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Nonsubscribers can join/register to share their views on the news, check status and how they compare with comments. This feature might be particularly useful for aspiring journalists as they get a view on how others have rated their comments on these tabloids online.
Advertisements and offers
Some advertisements feature throughout the home page, and two stationary ‘banner style’ digital adverts either side of the main screen content which remain in place as you scroll up and down, unlike the other paper where they move slightly. Here they are more fixed and could indicate more stability in the website, literally as well as figuratively.
There are links at the bottom for offers, such as Groupon discount codes which will then open in a new browser window. This is also something that is popular with the public, so they are maximising on customer interests.
But, most importantly, the newspaper is not subject to a pay wall. Registering is a benefit but not an obligation; all of the news is accessible without paying any subscription fee.
2. The Mirror
The Mirror online hails itself as the intelligent tabloid with an accompanying hashtag #madeyouthink which can be quoted in social media communications, thus giving the option for it to trend. It also gives it that modern edge and encourages readers to think about the stories featured.
The website contains a variety of different stories but also includes video content that is explicit. Although the warnings are visible, there is not necessarily anything to block or censor this to the young audience. Arguably, if a youngster is online they might stumble across footage such as this anyway on a different site such as YouTube, but the newspaper should have some moral obligation here. Interestingly, it is the second most-read item on the site, so the explicit nature must make it more appealing.
There are menus for horoscopes and cartoons, the latter of which features Andy Capp, a cartoon character that has been synonymous with the Daily Mirror since 1957.
Interactivity with The Mirror
Readers are invited to share their stories, and it would seem the most common way to do this is via a Smartphone or Android device since the associated image is of a number of phones being held up in unison.
The crossword section is surprisingly interactive – you can fill in the crossword using your keyboard. A lot of readers would prefer to complete a crossword using a pen as this is the tradition that is loved and enjoyed by many. However, this new format enables a new generation of individuals who might not ordinarily complete crossword puzzles.
As with other tabloids online, this website also contains links to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and email. There is also an option to comment on articles and share links.
3. The Sun
The Sun, which is also available in Scotland and Ireland, is one of the best known British tabloids. The website makes use of the traditional red and white colours associated with the newspaper, both in the logo as well as the article subheadings.
Like the print version, the website is mainly celebrity gossip focused and includes reality ‘trash’ stories. It is colourful and packed full of photos.
There are sign up options to comment on articles but also another option to buy the classic app for use on tablets with a 30-day free trial, which is subsequently set at a price of £4.99 a month after that.
4. The Daily Star
The header banner of the Daily Star website includes links to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and feeds, the latter of which is not available on the other websites.
There are menu tabs and items across the top that are currently trending, which are also links so they can be easily accessed at the click of a button. The side digital advert banners move slightly when scrolling so they are not fixed in place.
There is a link to ‘Our Paper’ which then gives the front page view of the print copy as well as the back page. It also shows the last six days of papers and the option to get e-editions. E-editions could be suited to those individuals who are trying to embrace the digital form but still like turning the pages of a paper, as pages can be turned by the click of a mouse. Back issues are also available as well as a paper archive facility dating back to 2000, and 2002 for the Sunday edition.