Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Gawker vs. New York Times

The first thing that jarred my attention as far as differences between the New York Times website and Gawker's was the categorization of news pieces. On the New York Times' webpage, a sidebar listing categories entitled "world", "U.S.", "business" and other newspaper standards held a place in the upper left corner. On Gawker, however, the categorizations ranged from "sex scandals" to "rants" to "idols". One similarity between the two pages was election coverage. This clearly indicates that whether a publication can be deemed serious or otherwise, it still must adhere to general expectations of the readers by presenting them with the prominent happenings in the world. A New York Times reader generally seeks the facts shedding light on the confusion surrounding the downpour of political information whereas a Gawker reader may seek to escape the seriousness of it all.

Greatly juxtaposing the headlines of the New York Times which are clean cut and free of inappropriate language, the Gawker article titles often contain foul language and take on a sarcastic tone. This is a foreshadow to the less-than-serious nature of the rest of the piece. Though it's true that some Gawker pieces take on a traditional writing style in their leads, these are exceptions, not the norm. Leads in the New York Times, in contrast, follow standard reporting practice, including the 5 W's. Following the lead, the prestigious newspaper continues along the inverted pyramid structure which places the most important information early in the article  and wanes down to less dire information.

Gawker articles take on their own style and structure. However, articles dealing with more serious issues tend to veer towards the traditional inverted pyramid style as well. For example, an expose-style piece about a nanny who worked for Rupert Murdoch presented detailed information as well as quotations from the nanny herself. The sarcasm in this piece was highly diluted when detectable at all. Sarcasm has no place in New York Times articles and would seem completely out-of-place if used. The Times protects its reputation as a leader in traditional journalistic practice well, by maintaining strict grammar and reporting the facts.

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