Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm from McAllen, and our leading source of local news is the Monitor. I use it pretty regularly to keep up with what's going on at home. For the project I decided to evaluate a different McAllen news source, and that is how I found

McAllen News-Topix seems like a kind of social newspaper that is continuously updated. It all seems pretty well established and current (the last post was 3 hours ago) so it's not under construction. The site was launched in 2004 (but another site said it was founded in 2002), edited and the reopened in 2007 to "give anyone the power to discuss, edit and share the news that matters to them" (kind of sounds like Wikipedia...?) The audience is YOU, basically. Anyone who is interested in news or looking for news. There are both inside and outside links, and I did not find one that did not work. There is, I think, some slant or bias of information but not given the from the site creators themselves. Recent "McAllen Discussions" include such tops as "Border patrol guys can't be trusted-they cheat!" and "How do I hack into someone's myspace?" But other articles on the site are picked up from actual valley news sources, such as KRGV and the Valley Morning Star. So really, content credibility is up to the judgment of the reader.

Topix is based in Palo Alto, Calif., and was created by Topix LLC, a privately held company with investment from Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI) and Tribune Company. Chris Tolles is CEO and orginially worked for Spoke Software, a business social networking company, where he was a co-founder and VP of marketing. Before Spoke, Chris was a Director of Marketing at AOL/Netscape for AOL Music, Netscape Search and Directory Products. You can contact him, but only through various outlets of the site itself. There is no direct email address, phone number, etc. You can leave a comment in the Feedback System, Press Room, Partners Page, etc.
Topix is a .com site and has advertising. You can backtrack the url, but only to the main site. I think the site is both accurate and inaccurate. It has links to news articles of other legitimate news entities, but it's also filled with opinion forums that seem to run unchecked and it claims that its content can be created as well as edited by anyone who wants to. I don't think there is a non-Web version.

This site is professional looking. The public posts and forums have some punctuation and spelling issues. The site is easy to use and the navigation is useful. Photos and visuals identify with news content and are not inappropriate. I found the site through, under McAllen tx news. It was #3 on the list. I feel like advertising is pretty blatant and easy to distinguish from news content. There was nothing in the source code that really grabbed my attention, but it could be because I'm still learning about all of this.

So overall impression, very interesting! However, I think I'll stick to the Monitor for my valley news.

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