Berkeleyside

Site URL: www.Berkeleyside.com
Sarah Baydush
Dates of Analysis: April 2, 2013 - April 16, 2013 (Alexa.com research collected on April 1, 2013)
Berkeley, California
Type of Site: Hyperlocal News Site

Map Picture of Area JPEG.jpg
Map of Berkeley, California Area from Google Maps

Geographic Reach:

Berkeleyside.com covers all eleven zipcodes in Berkeley, CA. Ethnically, the area is about half white (42.6%), and half a mix of minority races. The female to male ratio is about 50/50, with females dominating by just around 4%. The median house hold income is around $60,000, and as far as education goes, around 20% of the people living in these zipcodes attend high school or less, around 16% are high school graduates, and around 27% have received their bachelor or associates degree.



Berkeleyside Audience Demographics JPEG.jpg
Audience Demographics for Berkeleyside.com from Alexa.com

Berkeleyside Advanced Demographics JPEG.jpg
Advanced Demographics for Berkeleyside.com from Alexa.com


Circuit of Culture:


Berkeleyside is a local news site that covers all different topics of worthy news regarding Berkeley, California. Evaluating this site using the circuit of culture allows us to fully look through all of its strengths and weaknesses in every category.

Representation:

When analyzing Berkeleyside using the circuit of culture from the representation lens, it is clear how this site appeals to its audience. The first thing you see when navigating to the home page of the site is Berkeleyside’s bold, blue logo. This catches the viewers’ eye and draws them to the site’s name immediately. To the right of this is a fairly large ad, which stands out on the site and to the viewer. As you scroll down the page, you see the top headline and story, accompanied by a very large image that connects to the story. This use of imagery on the site draws the reader’s eye and is a good and effective way to show the importance of the story. Further down the page, more stories are posted, along with accompanying pictures to draw you to them. Down the right column of the site, ads promoting different services in Berkeley, CA are listed. The format of Berkeleyside’s home page is very effective when it comes to communicating the importance of certain articles or stories to the viewer. Its simple layout allows for its audience to navigate the site with ease and to ensure that they don’t miss any information that they desire.

When analyzing the 14-day sample that I took of the home page of this site, we can analyze the visuals that appear each day and calculate percentages of males and females, and of the ethnicities that are shown.

Male
Female
TOTALS
White
28
5
33
Black
3
5
8
Hispanic/Latino
0
0
0
Asian
0
0
0
Native American
0
0
0
TOTALS
31
10
41

By looking at the data collected in the chart above, we can now calculate the percentages of representation of each ethnicity by gender.

Male
Female
TOTALS
White
68.3%
12.2%
80.5%
Black
7.3%
12.2%
19.5%
Hispanic/Latino
0%
0%
0%
Asian
0%
0%
0%
Native American
0%
0%
0%
TOTALS
75.6%
24.4%


Production:

Next, by analyzing this site from the production lens of the circuit of culture, we begin to look at how the site is produced. This means that we will explore how often the home page stories are updated, what images are shown, how the site is designed, and other aspects of its production. By examining my 14-day snapshot of the site’s home page, we can see that although the stories seem to change from day to day, the ads aren’t updated very regularly. A lot of the same ads are constantly shown, giving the reader little variety when it comes to advertisements. As far as stories go, they are regularly updated to ensure that the site viewer always has something new to read. Images are included on the home page with every story. This is done to attract the reader to the stories and to make certain stories stand out more than others. The stories on Berkeleyside.com are written by a couple of authors, but those few names are repeated constantly. This means that there are only a few writers that write stories for this news site. The way that this site is designed makes the viewers want to scroll down and look for more stories. It does this by showing half of a very large picture that relates to the story beneath it when the home page is loaded. This then peaks the interest of the site viewer and therefore prompts them to scroll down to see the rest of the image. Berkeleyside effectively pulls its reader’s attention down the page to ensure that he/she continues navigating through the site. Here is a sample home page of Berkeleyside:


Identity:

To further the analysis, we will examine this hyperlocal news site from the identity point of view of the circuit of culture. The easy design and layout of this site makes it clear that the creator of Berkeleyside made it so that anyone could use this site and find the information that they need on it. The friendly smiles on people in images that link to stories shows how this site was designed to be open and friendly to users, inviting them to explore. The images and wide variety of topics on the site establish a connection with each person that views the site, making this site very accessible to all different kinds of people.

Consumption:

When evaluating Berkeleyside from the consumption lens of the circuit of culture, we can see that this site promotes advertisements and stories that relate to its audience. While examining this site, it is important to remember that the purpose of the site is to bring local news to Berkeley, CA. This website does just that; when people in this particular area want news that will tell them what is going on around them, they come to Berkeleyside. This makes this hyperlocal site extremely important to its audience, providing organized information that no other news coverage sites do. Berkeleyside.com’s intended area of coverage is Berkeley, CA, but when comparing Berkeley, CA’s demographics to the hyperlocal site’s demographics, it is clear that the site doesn’t always reach all of its audiences. Ethnically, Berkeley, CA is dominantly white, but that doesn’t mean that the minorities have absolutely no representation. Aside from very few African Americans that are represented in some of the site’s images, there are no minorities on the site at all. This does not match up with Berkeley, CA’s ethnic make up. In addition to missing ethnicities, Berkeleyside.com lacks female presence. With only 24.4% of their images representing females, this site falls short of matching its area’s demographics, which consist of about a 50/50 split representation of females to males, with females dominating by abut 6%. This shows that Berkeleyside.com needs to do more research into the demographics that it is providing information for.

Regulation:

Lastly, we will analyze Berkeleyside from the regulation lens of the circuit of culture. When examining this site, you can see that there are many articles posted and they are posted almost daily. This gives the reader a constant feed to look through that is always relevant. The way that this site is regulated is beneficial to its audience because there is always something new for them to read. This specific way that Berkeleyside has chosen to give its readers news, shapes the development of the site. The regulation of the site shapes its usage because the readers expect daily local news stories, and because they have learned that there are new ones added each day, they therefore create the usage on the site by visiting frequently. This site challenges public/private space by encouraging the reader to link its stories to facebook and other social media sites. This brings the public website into the reader’s private life, thereby merging public and private spaces.

Berkeleyside.com is a great hyperlocal news site that shares important information regarding Berkeley, CA to its community. This site effectively reaches its audience by making the site relatable and user friendly. The site demographics don’t necessarily match the coverage area demographics, but the stories are constantly updated to ensure that there is always new and interesting information for its audience to read. Berkeleyside does a fantastic job connecting with its audience by always giving useful information and by communicating that information effectively.


Bibliography:


Berkeleyside. (n.d). Retrieved April 27, 2013, from http://www.berkeleyside.com/.

Audience Demographics for Berkeleyside. (n.d). Retrieved April 2, 2013 from Alexa Web site: http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/berkeleyside.com

Advanced Demographics for Berkeleyside. (n.d). Retrieved April 2, 2013 from Alexa Web site: http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/berkeleyside.com

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

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

Berkeleyside. (n.d). Screen Grab Retrieved April 2, 2013, from http://www.berkeleyside.com/.

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

Berkeleyside. (n.d). Screen Grab Retrieved April 4, 2013, from http://www.berkeleyside.com/.

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

Berkeleyside. (n.d). Screen Grab Retrieved April 6, 2013, from http://www.berkeleyside.com/.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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