Prototype Report

We opted to produce a website that offers the user a service called Premier Football Scanner (PFS). This service is the aggregation of news and social media profiles of all 20 English Premier League clubs.

pfs

A shot of the banner from our site.

We feel there is a need for this site as although there are already news aggregators available, for example: Google News and Yahoo News, our site offers a unique user experience in that none of the aforementioned sites are tailored solely for sports fans. We found this audience to be niche, but a sizeable niche.

It is also something that could be easily and effectively expanded, both to include more leagues and further down the line more sports, though we must remember to remain specific, by sticking to sports news, and not become too general in terms of our output.

The user would see the top news headlines related to each club, as well as their respective twitter profiles, allowing for a social experience, which would be essential in retaining visitors in this social media age. Sports journalist Mclaren (2014) found that: “More than 35% of UK football supporters on Twitter now follow their team, athletes or media more closely than before they joined a social media network, and feel more closely bonded to that team”, it is this bond we would look to exploit by enticing the user to return to PFS.

To put the site together we used WordPress, which despite its limitations in regards to personalisation, has a number of useful widgets. The Twitter widget allowed us to display all the timelines of all English clubs. We used the RSS feed widget by creating news feeds using Google Alerts. Both of these aspects update automatically, making it easier to find the most up to date news all in one place.

We also considered McLuhan’s (1992) Tetrad Theory, which states that any medium can enhance, reverse, retrieve and make something obsolete simultaneously.

tetrad

A visual representation of McLuhan’s Tetrad.

In terms of what PFS Enhances we considered the fact that the site itself is news based would mean an increase in both news consumption and news output, given that both readers and journalists could use the site as a news source. In its current state however, it could be argued that PFS could reverse news consumption, due in part to its lack of audio/visual content, a vital factor in driving online traffic nowadays. This is something BBC journalist Amanda Farnsworth (2013) touches on: “In a world where many organisations are covering pretty similar stories in often pretty similar kinds of ways, visual journalism can bring a real distinctiveness”.

A reversal, or downfall, however could also be considered a strength, or retrieval. In this case PFS brings the written word back to the forefront, in this multimedia age, thus retrieving it. The final element of the Tetrad would be what our site obsolesces, which would be print media, and more specifically print news. While it would be fair to say that large numbers of people will continue to consume print news, large numbers of our audience rely mostly on online news. This theory is supported by Huffington Post journalist Chuck Boyce (2015) who claims: “News readers continue to move beyond traditional print publications such as newspapers and magazines, and focus on digital news for updates. News sites are prime opportunities to build an online presence.”

WORD COUNT: 553 

Bibliography

  • MCLUHAN, Marshall & MCLUHAN, Eric (1992). Laws of Media: The New Science. Toronto, University of Toronto Press.
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