Best Online Newsrooms: Contestant #2
— Intrapromote (@intrapromote) December 21, 2011
Before I announce our next contestant in the Freshest Newsroom Award contest, let’s re-cap: Contestant #1 is Best Buy based on their comprehensive and easy to use newsroom which operates like an efficient and vibrant mini-site, highlighted by its easy access to the CEO’s contact info.
Contestant #2…super drum roll…CDC Online Newsroom. The CDC does a terrific job categorizing and presenting hundreds of pages of current information; from podcasts, to RSS feeds, to news releases. This comprehensive newsroom is easy to navigate due to multiple quick link sections; especially the prominent Staff Contacts, Newsroom Site Map, Newsroom Library and Media Kit quick links on the newsroom home page. While providing multiple ways to view and navigate the newsroom, the CDC still provides a visually appealing experience that loads fast and is seamless in every respect.
Starting at the top of the newsroom home page the user is presented with both an alphabetical index search function and a typical search box. The index rapidly brings the user by topic to specific areas within the CDC site. Each page on the CDC site loads amazingly fast and the user is always provided with educational, no fluff charts and images that support the text, plus a variety of associated publications and data sheets.
While most web sites you visit today have the usual image slider with 4-5 large images that scroll horizontally, the CDC’s newsroom slider is small and functional; it’s almost like a mini-navigation element with quick links and bite size information that’s easy to scan.
Everything the CDC newsroom does makes a journalist’s life easier, right down to the archive of formatted press releases that are ready to print and insert into articles. They even include a Story Ideas section to spark ideas which is an excellent way to introduce journalists to the variety of information this newsroom has to offer.
My impression of this newsroom ratcheted up a few more notches when I viewed its site map. The CDC’s site map is well-formatted and while most of the hyperlinked section titles are self-explanatory, they include a summary phrase beneath each link so the user will be able to accurately predict what they will see when they click through. This site map allows for real self-service vs. the frustration one often experiences using newsrooms on large web sites. They even include key sections such as Hispanic Media Resources and multiple quick link sections to quickly route the user to her destination.
Overall I am really impressed with the CDC’s newsroom. It and the entire CDC site is masterfully designed. The user does not feel overwhelmed with an incredible amount of data, but instead is invited into a superbly crafted gateway to everything you always wanted to know about diseases and conditions, disasters and emergencies, safety, healthy living and much more. All of these attributes make this newsroom a very worthy contestant in our Freshest Newsroom Challenge.