BBC adopts web 'tabloid' format versus that of a MSN look-a-like, bluewin.ch_24 March 2015Left: BBC’s revamped website; right: Swisscom’s news portal, 100% ‘web tabloid’ format

I could not believe my eyes when I visited the BBC’s website this afternoon. The venerable institution has adopted what I would describe as a ‘web tabloid’ format, one which in my opinion is more in keeping with pure ‘entertainment’ news aggregators such as MSNC, Yahoo! or, in Switzerland, its copycat bluewin.ch (against which I recently ranted). However, this shift to ever increasing visual cues at the detriment of text is one that many online versions of newspapers have been pursuing of late, probably out of pure herding behaviour and probably also so as to make the display of their web pages more compatible with the so-called tablet format – I like to think of this trend as the ‘imagisation’ of the written word and I fear that it can only push us even more towards a state of ‘manufactured imbecility’ (my coinage, too).

Generally, I find the BBC’s website to be below the standards upheld by its radio or TV counterparts… In addition, it is a bit too much of a mouthpiece for the British government (which is normal to some extent because the UK taxpayers are the ones funding this important English-language broadcaster), so that it is not that often that one finds articles of this quality: ‘Marwa’s story: 10 years since the bomb fell’, Kevin Connolly, 12 March 2013.

I agree that this post does not have much to do with Switzerland except for the news section of bluewin.ch (right hand side of the picture), which I have lamented in an earlier entry; however, I think that the trend I have described is one that is extremely worrying because it points to the ever-growing prevalence of form over substance in today’s online news platforms.

Tomorrow, I hope to be able to post an entry entitled ‘Switzerland has no father figure’ and, after tomorrow, a post probably entitled ‘On the fear of being deGoogled’, so please come back.

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