IT is now two weeks since the France 24 website started covering international news, with the promise of a different view of the world.
And whilst the television service got off to a shaky start it seems to have now found its feet and as more hours are built up any rough spots should be smoothed out.
But what of the France 24 website, how is that fairing and will it help keep its audience in touch with world events?
Personally I think the site had a great opportunity to offer something truly different to any existing mainstream news service as it was entering the internet at an exciting time.
What with blogs, RSS feeds and broadband internet it had the opportunity to take the best bits of the new world wide web and incorporate them into its site, and so connecting with its audience in a totally new way.
As you can most probably tell, it hasn’t.
The site trumpets the blogs that have been set up for some of the channel’s leading journalists and yet many have not been updated for days or even a couple of weeks.
Short snappy updates, offering a little background into the day’s events would provide a real connection with the audience, there is no need for 1,000 word diatribes but they are missing a simple way of engaging with what is still a questioning readership.
I also couldn’t find an RSS feed on any of the journalists’ blogs, which would tell me when they have written something new, or even a simple email newsletter to give me a nudge to head back to the site.
And whilst the number of stories on the site is slowly growing I’ve noticed that none of them link to other websites, a very bad sign as the best sites become a resource, while those that become a one-way street are quickly ignored.
Being a television service video obviously plays an important role on the site with clips and reports from the various reporters, but again they are missing out on generating a ‘YouTube’ factor that would promote France 24 far and wide.
One of the reasons behind the success of YouTube was that you could place any of the videos on your own website and with one click people were able to explore similar clips back on YouTube.
Why doesn’t France 24 use the same principle for a selection of videos, or even better every video, if it has the copyright clearance?
Then when someone sees a news story that they know will interest readers within a minute or two the video is up on their site promoting the work of France 24 globally, saving vast amounts of money on promotional campaigns.
The France 24 website has a real opportunity to establish itself as a leading news service both online and off, but when it comes to its website the report currently reads ‘must do better’.
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