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I was drawn in online by the Observer‘s “The World’s 50 Most Powerful Blogs” today.  It’s a nice little list, if you have spare time and want a new load of fun things to read.  It seems I’ve recently been drawn more and more to the Observer‘s articles.  Usually I just hit up CNN for interesting stuff, but recently somehow the Observer‘s just caught my eye.  And I wonder, what do those crazy little islanders got that we don’t got?

There are, of course, superficial differences.  The Observer‘s website is clean, minimal, and sparse.  It uses thin lettering, just like its parent, the more serious Guardian.  It has a few ads that are small and relegated to the sidelines.  It uses bright colors (also like the Guardian to distinguish different topics and headings, which is a bit childish but also fun.  CNN takes itself more seriously.  Its colors – red, blue, and white, cause we’re American.  Its font is bolder, and sections are broken off into white boxes outline by the faint gray background.  There are more videos and podcasts, which I prefer less than actual written articles.  Ultimately it seems more cluttered to me, but that’s probably personal preference.

The thing that really strikes me between the two is the headings.  On CNN, the first row of headings (ostensibly the most important sections) are as follows: home, world, U.S., politics,  crime, entertainment, health, tech, travel, living, business, sports, and Time.  On the Observer: news, sport, comment, culture, business, money, life & style, travel, environment, blogs, jobs, and a-z.  Second row for CNN is all about ‘hot topics’, currently listing the sections of Spitzer, your money, Iraq, and election center.  Second row for the Observer is the sub-headings of the first row, which for news is UK, world, comment, sport, escape, review, magazine, business, cash, and woman.

What does this say about our respective values?  Does the US value world news over its own, unlike the UK?  Does the UK value culture and the environment while the US values technology and crime?   Does the UK value sports and business more than the US?  IS it significant that the Observer considers business, cash, and money as separate categories?


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