My Fox Atlanta is a website that keeps local Atlantans informed and up to date with current events and weather forecasts. Fox’s goal is to not only to provide Atlantans a place to come and read about their community but also a chance to help create the news. They are targeting a broad audience but want their readers to feel like the website is their own personal news source. My Fox Atlanta is set-up for consumers of news but also provides opportunities for their audience to be contributors to the news.
Local Community News
Fox Five Atlanta was first a television news station that broadcasted the local news in the mornings and evenings on channel five. Journalism has started to transition out of broadcasting and into digital media, but Fox 5 has kept it’s broadcasting roots. At certain times of the day the My Fox Atlanta website includes a blue bar at the top of their homepage announcing LIVE NEWS and the instructions to CLICK HERE. When the bar is clicked readers become viewers as they are able to watch the live television news show on their computer. By providing readers with the opportunity to still watch their local Atlanta anchor report the news, it keeps that homey, close-knit community feeling that may be lost without the video.
The featured stories underneath the LIVE NEWS bar are always local news stories. Fox Atlanta makes the assumption that the readers of their website are there for current local news. Theses featured stories range in content but they all have an image paired with a headline that includes strong language such as murder, stranded, rally, etc. The most current and exciting stories are intentionally being highlighted in order to draw people in, similar to a headline from a newspaper.
It doesn’t get anymore local than the Atlanta weather forecast, so another way My Fox Atlanta promotes a sense of community is by highlighting the local weather. One of the most noticeable features on the website is the blue bar advertising the LIVE VIPIR in the middle with lightning bolts all around it and complete with lens flares in the middle and the right. Wow. The Fox 5 Storm Team is depicting itself as super exciting and youthful: this is not your Grandparents local weather forecast.
The bar instructs readers to CLICK HERE, and when clicked they are taken to a page with a large map of northern Georgia. The map has the Fox 5 Storm Team’s Live Vipir Radar tracking the state for severe thunderstorms complete with lightning tracker counting the lightning strikes as they happen. If the viewer scrolls down they have their choice of twenty different radar maps that focus in on a specific area of northern Georgia. Back at the home page, readers are provided with a small vipir radar map at the right side of the page. That way even if readers choose not to CLICK HERE like the Live Vipir bar instructs them to, they can still see the always changing weather radar.
Another extremely noticeable feature on the site is the always changing temperature at the top middle of the home page. This is the only moving icon on the entire page, so it draws the attention of readers. Every five seconds the temperature flips to a different metro Atlanta city giving the feeling that My Fox Atlanta has the weather forecast down to the second.
All of these weather tools work together to depict the weather forecast as an intense, exciting event that cannot be missed. My Fox Atlanta does not use the name meteorologists because that sounds boring and not super exciting. They have a Fox 5 Storm Team because there is always a chance that at any second a severe thunderstorm could pop up and reap havoc on the Atlanta area. Fox wants their audience to know that they have the weather forecast down to the second and the Fox 5 Storm Team is looking out for them.
My Fox Atlanta has found their niche in the Atlanta online news community by not only highlighting the most current news stories but also the most current weather forecast down to the very second. The goal is to reach the Atlanta community by highlighting the local news and weather because that is the information that actually effects Fox’s assumed audience of Atlanta citizens. However, Atlanta and the surrounding metro area is filled with a diverse population, so it is necessary for Fox’s website to balance the feeling of personal experience with a broad audience.
Personal vs. Broad
One of the biggest allowances that all online news sites offer is the readers ability to craft their own experience. Fox’s website is not just called Fox Atlanta it is called “My” Fox Atlanta because they are promoting a personal experience. Fox consistently assumes that the audience of their website are local Atlantans but realize that this is a broad audience filled with a variety of different people. Fox keeps their content about the Atlanta community to enforce personal experience and then balanced that with a variety of featured stories to ensure they reach the broadest audience of Atlantans possible.
Underneath the seven featured stories are four boxes and each one contains a different category of news stories. The first box seen at the top left contains headlines for local news. Again, they put local news in the most prominent position, which sends a message of being a community website.
The second box seen contains slideshows of pictures from big Atlanta events that are sent in by Fox 5 viewers. They are encouraging viewers to participate in the news as contributors, which works to make the My Fox Atlanta website a personalized experience. The slideshows range in content from the serious “Explosion at Atlanta Airport” to the lighthearted “Best of Your Daddy Doubles”. The “Best of Daddy Doubles” is filled with viewer pictures of children that resemble their fathers and really inspires viewers to go, “Awww, how cute”. It gives viewers the feeling that My Fox Atlanta is a website that provides an intimate community atmosphere for viewers.
The third box contains stories from the Fox 5 I-Team, which is a team of investigative journalists that provide consumer reports and watch for government scandals in the Atlanta area. This box shows readers that Fox 5 is looking out for Atlantans because they care about them and do not want their readers to be swindled.
All five headlines in the I-team box are followed by a small picture of a camera, which lets readers know this story includes a video. The video is live footage from the morning news broadcast; any time a story has been featured on the Fox 5 news show the footage is always included on the website. Fox 5 has built its reputation as a reliable broadcasting source, so they use footage from their news broadcasts to give them credibility. This way viewers will recognize them as both a reliable broadcast and digital news source.
The final box contains stories from Fox’s morning show Good Day Atlanta and include heart warming stories such as ” Good Day Pet” and “Free Scoop for Nat’l Ice Cream Day at Atlanta Museum”. These stories work on the audience the same way as the “Daddy Doubles” story from box two, by making viewers feel like they are part of a warm, cozy community.
Consumer vs. Contributor
My Fox Atlanta allows their readers to be not only consumers of news but also contributors to news. They let their audience to decide what level of involvement they want to have with the website. A viewer can choose to just consume the stories that Fox 5 is providing or contribute in many different ways.
Underneath the logo at the top left of the home page is the word connect followed by several different icons for various forms of social media. The Facebook icon gets the first spot on the list, and just in case viewers do not connect to Facebook at the top of the page Fox 5 provides other opportunities.
There is a box halfway down the Home page that asks readers to “Find us on Facebook” and asks readers to “like” them. Also, there is a section after every story where readers can make comments and it posts them to their Facebook page; this way all of their Facebook friends will see the website My Fox Atlanta. It is a wonderful way for Fox 5 to advertise their website because it gives them access to the billion users of Facebook , and it allows readers to contribute by spreading My Fox Atlanta stories across the internet.
If readers are not Facebook users, My Fox Atlanta still offers ways they can contribute to the news experience. In the top tool bar there is a category users can choose that enables videos and photos to be uploaded. This is a very important feature of the website because citizen journalism is becoming more and more popular; however, Fox does not push their readers to become citizen journalists. They offer the opportunities but they are certainly not in prominent positions on the website. The comments are at the bottom of the stories and the upload photos or videos text is ninth on the drop down menu under the home category.
Citizen journalism is a hot topic for debate right now because it causes concern about the possible negative effects on the quality of information in the news. However, it is likely that the future of journalism will consist of an alliance between professional journalists and citizen journalists. Perhaps in the future, My Fox Atlanta will choose to better promote the opportunities for their readers to become contributors to the local Atlanta news site.