espn.com uses compelling visual scenes to show one athlete’s journey through famous area of Austria

In March 2017, ESPN used still images to capture the story of athlete Chris Paynter’s experience at the Special Olympics World Games in Austria. The story was not centered around his performance at the games, but around the day trip he took to Salzburg, Austria, where his favorite movie, “The Sound of Music,” was filmed.

The headline, which reads “Photos: Chris Paynter saw a few of his favorite things in Austria,” and the header image, which shows an excited Paynter with his parents, draw the reader in first.  It is the images themselves that create an effective, cohesive story. Each image is preceded by an act and scene number, and each photograph mirrors a famous scene in “The Sound of Music.”

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Part of what makes this photo story so interesting is how scenic each photograph is. Those that have watched “The Sound of Music” can place Paynter into each one of the movie scenes, and each photograph displays beautiful images of Salzburg.

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The story is not confined to Paynter’s trip to Salzburg. Instead, it ties in neatly to his actual performance at the games, which resulted in a gold medal. A standout moment comes in the first image of “Act 2,” where readers finally see Paynter competing, shows him and his father embracing. The quote by Paynter underneath reads “I’m glad my legs weren’t tired from all of that walking yesterday.”

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The format of the story fits with the overall design of the website, which is relatively plain with just text, images, and videos.

The story closes with an image of Paynter kissing his gold medal, bringing readers a happy and definitive ending.

An example of poor visual storytelling on espn.com is a recent NHL video where player Paul Stastny discusses his trade to the Winnipeg Jets. The clip consists of a sound bite of Stastny’s interview with images of him from his time on the Blues as well as stock images of hockey skates and a hockey arena. This video could have benefitted by better visuals because the visuals do not add anything to the storyline and the clip cycles through the same few images as Stastny talks.

View another example of good visuals and something I haven’t seen in another ESPN article here. 

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espn.com provides live update feed resembling Twitter timeline

In honor of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, espn.com has added a live feed resembling a Twitter timeline to its homepage. The feed not only features results of the events, it also contains snippets of information such as event rules and personal anecdotes from ESPN contributors such as anchors and reporters.

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 1.59.13 AMIt’s no surprise that the feed looks like a Twitter timeline. The posts are generally one or two sentences long, and some of the posts include photos and videos.

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In the age of needing fast information now, news sources are left to figure out not only how to keep up with social media, but they are trying to compete with them too. The format of these updates is meant to provide quick bits of information that get straight to the point.

While the updates resemble a page filled with Tweets, they still grab readers and cause them to scroll further. Behind-the-scenes looks at the games are interspersed on the page. There’s even a video of the media dining hall wall being painted by a machine. Who knew a machine could paint something so detailed? That video definitely earned another watch. Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 2.27.07 AM.png

Nick Foles trade rumors swirl just days after LII win

ESPN’s NFL insiders seem to think that Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles will soon be saying goodbye to the Eagles. The article discussed both whether the team should trade backup quarterback Foles, and, if so, what they should trade him for.

Just days after the Eagles’ Super Bowl LII win, three articles about trading backup quarterback Foles greeted those that visited the NFL tab on espn.com. In its own labeled section on the page, the articles discussed this same topic.Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 3.48.55 AM

One of the articles, titled “What should Eagles do with Nick Foles? Insiders predict,”is all text, with video threads of Foles at the head of each of the two questions.  What one may think will only be Foles’ post-game interview transitions into a playlist of teammates’ post-game interviews. By the time you finish reading the article, the videos will still be playing.

When it comes to its content, espn.com is very straightforward. There are not many frills, and the articles give you straightforward facts and analysis and then sends readers on their way. ESPN’s Twitter page, on the other hand, is the place for more of the “fun facts” type information, such as this tweet that reads “Even the 👑 is giving props to Nick Foles.”

espn.com’s mission statement “meets sports fans wherever they are”

According to ESPN’s Facebook page, ESPN’s mission is “to serve sports fans wherever sports are watched, listened to, discussed, debated, read about, or played.” It’s a broad statement, but it is accurate, to an extent.

On espn.com, there are tabs for almost every sport that could have a following. The site even has a tab for esports, also known as playing video games competitively. These sports are located on the main menu under a tab marked by three dots.

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The main sports that have their own headings directly at the top of the homepage are the NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAAM, Soccer and the NHL. These are the sports that seem to be prioritized on espn.com. When scrolling through the homepage, these are pretty much the only sports you see articles written about.

espn.com uses a streamlined format to deliver sports content. Although the site does cover most sports, there is a clear emphasis on basketball and football. All of the top stories on the front page were about either the NFL or NBA, followed by NCAAM, soccer, NHL and baseball.

To access content published about the sports not directly listed on the homepage, it takes more navigating through the site.