On Wednesday, #loweclass will welcome CNN Digital editor Mira Lowe to class. In preparation, students are examining five channels of CNN and comparing them to our own beat sites, mine being the Detroit Free-Press. In order to decide which site covered each channel better, I will be awarding points. The better site gets a single point. The site with the most points wins. 

The first page I compared was the entertainment page. For CNN, the page was visually stunning. There are pictures for nearly every lead article. There were categories for music, TV and even casting news. Meanwhile on the Free-Press's entertainment page, the lead story was on Art X, a art festival coming to Midtown. This story was the only lead story with a photo. But while CNN had the better page visually, the Free-Press had more coverage of entertainment. Stories ranging from a piece on Kurt Cobain's suicide anniversary to Evil Dead making $26 million on the weekend. In a head to head battle, I'd give each site a half point; CNN for its visuals and Free-Press for wide range of coverage. CNN: .5 Free-Press: .5


The next head-to-head battle is the technology page. CNN's site opens with a story on how to control a computer with a banana. But it's not just limited to a banana, but anything that can complete a circuit, which, as the video shows, is even Play-Doh. How awesome is that?! CNN's coverage also dives into the business side of technology, which is an aspect I did not expect to find. 


The Detroit Free-Press's technology page was not on the homepage, but under the life drop-down menu. There were no lead stories on the technology page. Instead, it was the top technology news, which had stories dating back to March 18, 2013. Three of the first four stories were about Facebook. To me, it seemed like a lot of the Free-Press's coverage was fluff, while CNN's was extensive. CNN clearly won this matchup. CNN: 1.5 Free-Press: .5


Health news is next, and again CNN looks great. The story that caught my eye was one about a man with autism. The story is about a kid who was diagnosed with autism at age 5, and how he overcame obstacles in life and now attends college and also has written a book. The best part? He also wrote the story. Because I worked with autistic kids for the past two summers, this story was an awesome read. The rest of the health homepage was extremely colorful, with lots of photos. There were even videos that viewers could watch. 


The health page was also on the Free-Press's life drop down menu. Again, the Free-Press has top health news. These stories were wide-ranging, much like its coverage of entertainment.  These stories were well written and had a lot of substance to them, but overall, there weren't any stores that stuck out in my mind. CNN's coverage was extensive and visually compelling, while the Free-Press was hit and miss. I have to give it to CNN again. CNN: 2.5 Free-Press: .5


The living page of CNN was laid out exactly like the health page, which was good to see. Again, CNN immediately had a story that caught my eye. This was about a school in Wilcox County, Ga., that was going to have its first integrated prom. Yes, that's correct. A school that has been desegregated since the '60s still was having all-white dances and all-black dances. But in 2013, they were going to have an integrated prom. Call me sheltered, but I had no idea stories such as this one still existed, so major props to CNN for covering this dance.

The closest thing the Free-Press had to a living section was its life section, which encompassed areas such as food and shopping, as well as the channels of health and technology, which was already covered. Unlike CNN, the Free-Press did not have any story that caught my eye. One story that was part of the travel/food section was how to tell if horse meat is on a foreign menu. Given the scandal of a British retailer having horse meat in some of its burgers, this story would be something of interest for a traveler. CNN again wins this battle because of better coverage and a better page overall. CNN: 3.5 Free-Press: .5


The final matchup pits the travel pages together. CNN again has the same layout for travel as it does for health and living. I would have liked to see something different on this homepage, but that's all I can complain about. The lead story is about how Washington's legalization of marijuana has increased the economy. Another great story was about the seven most fun airports around the world, which included the Munich Airport and its beer garden and San Francisco's many museums

The Free-Press's travel page is more of the same. It only features the top travel news stories, and there really isn't any story that draws in my attention. The one that's closest is a story on the TSA chief saying he'd let travelers bring small knives on planes. Frankly, I don't understand why people could bring knives on a plane, but a regular tube of toothpaste or contact solution is completely out of the question. CNN again wins this battle of the channels. CNN: 4.5 Free-Press: .5


Well, there's your final score folks. CNN nearly completed the sweep, but the entertainment page of the Free-Press was the saving grace. CNN shows why it is the Goliath of news coverage, and why the Free-Press is David. If this were a hockey game, CNN would be the Chicago Blackhawks and the Free-Press would be the Florida Panthers. It was no contest. 
 





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