Tag Archives: headlines

Where to find the story of the day on al.com

al.com front page al.com front page with boxes

The al.com front page on the morning of July 20, with the
version on the right showing the placement of the
Aurora shooting spree stories.

(Click to enlarge each version.)

The challenge of news sites is to present important and interesting headlines so readers can find them quickly. Typically, the most important stories can be found at the top.

On Friday, the day of the shooting spree at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., was one of many stories featured in the new al.com stream format. The big stories from Alabama included a bomb threat at a Cahaba Heights drugstore (including arrests) and the state board of education filing a lawsuit against the Birmingham school board.

Certainly the tragedy in Colorado that left 12 dead and more than 50 wounded grabbed media and public attention. The broadcast networks based their evening newscasts and hastily scheduled prime-time specials from Aurora.

The al.com front page has several ways to highlight stories: a banner across the top, a “Don’t Miss” flag (used for a story on an imprisoned former Jefferson County commissioner) and a top right box (used for Tuesday’s Tuscaloosa shooting spree).

The Aurora-related headlines did not have any indicators to help them stand out, as shown above, an odd choice given the clear reader interest (note the 192 comments for one version). One is near the top, just below a link to a recipe for Kalua Pork, while the other is just below an ad block.

al.com front page al.com front page

The al.com front page on the evening of July 20, with the
version on the right showing the placement of the
Aurora shooting spree stories.

(Click to enlarge each version.)

By that evening, a story on the shooting suspect can be found several screens down just below the ad block, as shown above.

If clicks to al.com pages are important in the new Alabama Media Group model (as they were in the previous template), why is the arguably most important story of the day so hard to find?

Good design gives readers a clear path to story hierarchy, through use of color, placement, size, even bold fonts. But in the river of headlines on al.com, it’s more challenging to locate the ones they want to see and click.

More stories on al.com

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Birmingham media in 2009: nasty, brutish and long

A tag cloud of Media of Birmingham news headlines in 2009

Birmingham’s mainstream media professionals had a brutal 2009. Whether at newspapers, magazines or TV or radio stations, the news was overwhelmingly negative.

Nearly two dozen of our stories posted on Media of Birmingham regurgitated the alarming trends: cuts, layoffs, freezes, buyouts, slumps and terminations. Three magazines — Lipstick, Skirt and Southern Accents — folded in the past 12 months.

At least 100 people at these organizations lost their jobs. Even more frightening are the jobs that disappeared without a whisper, either by news outlets or this site. Who knows how bad it really is?

And that is the odd state of media in Birmingham in 2009. Sometimes, a blog for a professional networking group, or a whisper on Twitter or Facebook, is the only indication that a company is about to implode.

For those continuing to look for work within their current field, we can only wish you the best of luck. And for those working on Plan B for their careers, we offer our encouragement and our ideas.

Not all of you will stay in media, whether it’s advertising, marketing, journalism or whatever. The jobs are going away, and many are not coming back.

That doesn’t mean creative, smart professionals can’t carve out a new career. But it will take luck, talent and hard work, the tripod of success. Career transformation can be done, and it’s happening every day in Birmingham.

Media of Birmingham will continue to bring the news and information that matters to our audience, whether on this site or in our monthly events. We serve you, the city’s professional media community.

And we ask that you pitch in. Your ideas, your energy and your willingness to help keep this group thriving, even in a challenging year like this one.

The headlines may continue to be negative for some time. Only you can rewrite your own story.

• • •

Media of Birmingham headlines from 2009

The bad news …

The not-so-bad news …

• • •

Read more Birmingham media updates.

Have a news tip? Let us know!