The Washington Blade, while well developed as a news source, could utilize some changes to prepare for a better future.
While I do not know the specifics of the Washington Blade’s financial decisions, but may be advantageous to either focus more heavily on the site’s content (and decrease the number of physical newspapers) or place a cost on the physical newspaper. The site itself does not have a pay wall, and may not want to consider it until it gains a wider audience.
Editorial changes to the site could include a more interactive front page. Perhaps there could be short films, working slideshows, or even sound bites to work alongside the written articles.
The Blade has a large amount of colorful imagery that sometimes tell stories of their own, so creating the additional multimedia pieces would not be outside of the Blade’s realm of expertise. The first few featured articles on the front page are typically longer than the others, and may need to be broken up with multimedia additions. A major strong point of the publication is the use of photography in any atmosphere, whether it’s for a club, political speech or social gathering for an LGBT organization. Utilizing actual video will in a sense help the articles “come to life” and keep readers interested.
While the use of audio clips is not abundantly used in modern media, it would be far more attention grabbing when added to a slideshow. Another dimension of storytelling would certainly help the Blade really put their journalistic endeavors on display, and bring in more audience members who are interested in both seeing and hearing the story.
The user information on the demographics of viewers who visit the Washington Blade site entirely surprised me. The site has headlines that includes “Not a lady in sight” which reports on an all gay male cast in a ballet. Another article, “LGBT groups push back against threats to gay-inclusive immigration bill” does not quote a single woman.
However, according to alexa.com, the expected high male readership is not necessarily the case. Apparently, women are overrepresented on the site. This means that more women are looking at these stories than men, which is an interesting phenomenon I’d like to look into.
One guess I have is that more lifestyle-related content (such as the latest clubs or which hangout spot is the cheapest) that appeals to the men is on the front page, so a man visiting the page might go on just to get an update. Women, for some reason, may spend more time on the site navigating through different articles and images. This doesn’t explain why men don’t navigate throughout the page.
Another shocker was that people under the age of 44 are viewed as underrepresented, whereas the opposite is the case for people over 44. Perhaps, again, there are more older visitors who bother to search through the site’s articles.
According to quantcast.com, more men visit than women, which provides some interesting contrasting data. There’s little surprise that the majority of readers don’t have kids, considering some state laws that do not permit LGBT people to adopt children.
There is also a large demographic of African American readership, which I also find particular because there is very little subject matter that specifically targets the black community.
Overall, this is a realm of information that I’d like to look further into simply because it does not line up with my initial thoughts on it.