Altadenablog


Torry Harding
May 10, 2013
COMM 100: Final Paper on Hyperlocal News

Altadenablog

Site Name: Altadenablog Online
Site URL: www.altadenablog.com
Dates of Analysis:
Home Page Images:
April 3
April 5
April 7
April 8
April 9
April 10
April 11
April 12
April 13
April 14
April 15
April 16
April 17
April 23

Alexa.com Collection and Census Data: April 3

Geographic Reach: Altadena, California (91001, 91104, 91107)

altadenablog.com_GReach.jpg
Type of Site: Hyperlocal

Demographic Summary:


altadenablog.com_DSum.jpg
Circuit of Culture Analysis

Representation:
Altadenablog is a locally-owned website designed for locals who reside in the small community of Altadena, California. Since it is a hyperlocal site, Altadenablog consists of information that only pertains to its community. The overall structure of this site is formatted as a blog with a title at the top of the page with 10 tabs right under it. Behind the title is a transparent picture of local mountains with a message exclaiming that the site is, “Your independent, advertiser-supported, locally owned community news service!” Each tab contains a different feature of the site such as, “Calendar” “Archives” or “Pets Lost and Found”. At the top right you will always spot the local weather forecast while on the top left you will find a search bar of the site along with the site’s masthead. Altadenablog is set up like your average blog website. It follows in chronological order with the date of that certain day, following the given headlines and full stories. Given that this is an independent advertiser-supported site, there are numerous advertisements that flood the left and right side of the website, and from the time period I observed this site, the ads seemed to rotate often. The advertisements tend to only relate to the Altadena area as well. For instance, the site consists of ads about local grocery stores and the community’s veterinarian. Once the advertisements come to an end on the left side of the homepage you will find popular tags related to the website such as “Crime” or “Library”. Below the ads on the left you will also find popular links that relate to the Altadena community as well as the site’s archives. Altadenablog displays every article up to a certain point on its homepage until when you get to the bottom of the page where you can click a link to view older blog posts. Every date has at least one article, and each article is at full length unless it is significantly longer. In that case, the site provides a link where you can continue to observe the full article. There are various topics that appear on Altadenablog, differing from serious topics such as the sheriff asking for the public’s help in catching a sex offender, or topics that keep the community aware of what’s going on like the opening of a new library.

Sample Size: 14 home page screen grabs
The chart below displays the gender and race of all images collected throughout the dates mentioned above.

Content Analysis


Male
Female
Don’t Know
TOTALS
White
3
6
0
9
Black
0
0
0
0
Hispanic/ Latino
0
0
0
0
Asian
0
0
0
0
Native American
0
0
0
0
Totals
3
6
0
9

Percentages

Percentages
Male
Female
TOTALS
White
100%
100%
100%
Black
0%
0%
0%

100%
100%
100%


Production:
The production of Altadenablog is very well kept. Each time I visited the site to take a screen shot there was a new story at the top of the homepage. The advertisements along the sides of the homepage were also often rotated, but not as frequently as the stories were. Many of the stories were created by the site’s editor/publisher, Timothy Rutt, other than him stories were made by a collection of author’s or from community organizations. Topics of these stories include local government, local business, crime and public safety issues, arts and entertainment events, and much more. From the time span I spent observing this website; images were included in almost every article. The images further explained the point that the articles were trying to convey. For example, here is an image that show what a recent sex offender in the community looks like.

altadenablog.com_imageex.jpg

The author of the article is listed if it is written by Timothy Rutt, otherwise the author isn’t listed or a community organization is listed as the author. I would assume that the articles that do not have an author listed are compiled by several authors among the website. The design of this website could not be any simpler. Anyone can easily navigate throughout the homepage and locate what they are looking for. Furthermore, Altadenablog is an interactive site where subscribers can comment on an article, but from what I observed few subscribers commented on articles. In addition, the way the advertisements are set up on the homepage is critical. As you continue to scroll down the homepage, the advertisements appear on both sides of the article, which centers the audience’s attention to the article. This is an effective method by the website to make the audience solely focus on the article presented.

Sample Home Page:

altadenablog.com_homepage.jpg




Identity:
Just from the topics of the articles and the overall design of the website, it is clear that the creators of this site have vested interest into the well-being of their community. If you click on the “About” tab, you can scroll down and see how committed the creators of the site are about keeping their community updated on news and events. Perfect example that displays the creators devotion to the site is the quote located in the “About” tab, “We love this work. We love Altadena.” Anyone can establish identification with this site due to the search bar located in the top left of the homepage or the numerous tabs near the title of the site. This allows the site to appeal to a large audience while allowing visitors to explore stories that apply to their personal needs.

Consumption:
Altadenablog is used to provide local news of regular key cover events in the small community of Altadenablog, California. Especially with this site, it is made significant to its visitors since the stories included in the site are happening in their own community. Many of the topics in the site may involve people the reader knows or maybe even themselves. Other news topics such as crime, weather, or traffic reports enable visitors to plan their future out accordingly. From my analysis of the screen grabs and the demographics I researched earlier in this project, I would presume that the website delivers to its stated audience. This site provides information that most other news coverage sites do not, which is what is the purpose of a hyperlocal site. Altadenablog’s intended area of coverage is Altadena, California, and it does just that. Altadena, California is pre-dominantly white, and is a very affluent area due to its high average household income, and from the site’s images it’s evident that the community is mostly white. In all, Altadenablog mostlymatches up with Altadena’s ethnic make-up. Even though in most of the zip codes that this site covers are predominantly white, some of the zip codes have a slightly larger African-American or Hispanic population. Altadenablog lacks the presence of both of these ethnicities. From my screen grabs I failed to discover any of these races in any image. Aside from my screen grabs, just from exploring the site alone I have yet to see any other race including in the site’s images, which is something Altadenablog must put effort into. In some zip codes, Hispanics or African-Americans account for almost a third of the population, and it essential that they be represented in the site’s images.

Regulation:
Now, we will analyze Altadenablog from the regulation lens of the circuit of culture. Since this is a hyperlocal site, regulation has a major impact on this site. This isn’t like any other main news coverage site; Altadenablog displays information that only pertains to this community. Visitors of this site have nowhere else to go to find specific information that applies to their community. The result of providing news to a small audience plays a role in advertisements and promotional space. The site might face restrictions on what it has to advertise in that the advertisements must be fitting to the area’s demographics. As I stated earlier in this summary, most of the advertisements relate to the companies and organizations in the surrounding community. Next, the distinction between private/public spaces within this site is pretty clear. Most of the stories included in this site relates to the whole community. Also, from my observations so far, the site doesn’t use social media much or at all. I do not have the answer why, however, if they want users to become more interactive in order to personally promote articles to others, they should incorporate more social media into the site. Also, this site might challenge private space by including certain persons or organizations in articles without their notice. People might argue that their personal life or business should be protected from the media, and if others have the right to hear about it.

Evaluation:
After my analysis of the site’s and coverage area’s demographics,the two somewhat correlate. Most zip code regions matched the site’s demographics. The zip codes are white for the most part, and each region is moderately affluent. However, each zip code has a decent sized Hispanic population and one zip code has a fairly large African-American population. For instance, the 91001 zip code consists of a 27.1% African-American population with a 29% Hispanic population. So these zip codes in particular don’t fully match with the sites demographics. Now, the site’s images do not match the coverage area demographics whatsoever. As I have been explaining throughout this summary, even though these zip codes are pre-dominantly white and are quite affluent, there is still a fairly decent-size of minorities, particularly African-Americans and Hispanics. Nonetheless, the site visuals fail to display any minorities. Even to this date, I have yet to see a minority in a visual or ad, that wasn’t relating to crime. In order for this site to be more successful, it is imperative that they accurately target their whole demographics. Although this site might fail to accurately represent its whole coverage area, it still effectively delivers news and information to its geographic audience. African-Americans and Hispanics make a small part of the coverage area; however, whites are still the majority and the site executes a sufficient job of presenting information to them.

Bibliography
Altadenablog. (n.d). Retrieved April 27, 2013, from http://www.altadenablog.com/.

Audience Demographics for Altadenablog. (n.d). Retrieved April 3, 2013 from Alexa Web site: http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/altadenablog.com

Advanced Demographics for Altadenablog. (n.d). Retrieved April 3, 2013 from Alexa Web site: http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/altadenablog.com

City-Data.com. (n.d). Retrieved from City-Data Web site: http://www.city-data.com/

Google Maps Image - Altadena, CA. (n.d). Retrieved from Google Maps Web site: http://maps.google.com/

Altadenablog. (n.d). Screen Grab Retrieved April 3, 2013, from http://www.altadenablog.com/.

Altadenablog. (n.d). Screen Grab Retrieved April 5, 2013, from http://www.altadenablog.com/.

Altadenablog. (n.d). Screen Grab Retrieved April 7, 2013, from http://www.altadenablog.com/.

Altadenablog. (n.d). Screen Grab Retrieved April 8, 2013, from http://www.altadenablog.com/.

Altadenablog. (n.d). Screen Grab Retrieved April 9, 2013, from http://www.altadenablog.com/.

Altadenablog. (n.d). Screen Grab Retrieved April 10, 2013, from http://www.altadenablog.com/.

Altadenablog. (n.d). Screen Grab Retrieved April 11, 2013, from http://www.altadenablog.com/.

Altadenablog. (n.d). Screen Grab Retrieved April 12, 2013, from http://www.altadenablog.com/.

Altadenablog. (n.d). Screen Grab Retrieved April 13, 2013, from http://www.altadenablog.com/.

Altadenablog. (n.d). Screen Grab Retrieved April 14, 2013, from http://www.altadenablog.com/.

Altadenablog. (n.d). Screen Grab Retrieved April 15, 2013, from http://www.altadenablog.com/.

Altadenablog. (n.d). Screen Grab Retrieved April 16, 2013, from http://www.altadenablog.com/.

Altadenablog. (n.d). Screen Grab Retrieved April 17, 2013, from http://www.altadenablog.com/.

Altadenablog. (n.d). Screen Grab Retrieved April 23, 2013, from http://www.altadenablog.com/.