Thumbs Up for CBSN


As a college student with practically no time to watch TV and limited access to cable TV, CBSN opened my eyes to a news medium I believe is perfect for college students. The layout of the website is simple and clean and the format of the livestream mirrors the format of the live news with commercial breaks and everything. Unlike cable TV, however, CBSN online will play quiet background music for the minute and a half that they are on commercial break. I listened to three stories on CBSN: 

1. “Where the 2016 Race Stands Now” – A live story

 2.”Inside North Korea During Military Parade

3. “The Atlantic Proliferation of the Non-Native Lionfish”

Overall, the content of each story seemed well developed and, with the exception of the 2016 election story, did not seem to drag on for longer than needed. The story on North Korea was most interesting to me because of the visuals it provided. The journalist gave all of the details for the story, but then further went on to explain how he was able to obtain entrance into a nation that usually forbade foreign journalists — Americans especially. Although this background information was not necessary for the story, it provided interesting information to the public. Because it was not needed for the story, however, it came at the end of the segment, reiterating the idea that journalists need to start out with the “why”, or main point, of their story, giving background information later on.

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 2.39.48 PMScreenshot from the North Korean segment. This woman just admitted that she did not know the CBSN news was American because he did not seem evil, which is how Americans are portrayed in books North Korea, according to her. 

As for the story about the election, I felt that this piece did in fact drag on. There were four visitors from varying sources (i.e., the Washington Post) and their conversation about Donald Trump dragged on. Most of the 2016 election discourse has surrounded Trump, making this millionth conversation old and nothing new. Several debates surround Trump and his ideals, so the disagreement between visitors was nothing surprising.

TrumpRich(Source: CBSN)

As for the format of CBSN, it was clear and easy to use. The sidebar with video titles made it easy to find videos that fit my interests. My favorite part of CBSN’s format was the livestream at the bottom of the screen. When I watched the story about the lionfish, a story that was not part of the livestream, CBSN kept a small screen of the livestream playing in the bottom left corner. I particularly liked this because it allowed me to see what topics were being discussed and when new topics would be coming up.

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 2.42.45 PM

Note how the left side shows the live CBSN show. 

In addition to this continuous livestream, I also really enjoyed the lack of advertisements on the website. Usually today websites are covered in advertisements and videos will not start playing until you watch a certain length ad. This was not the case, however, for CBSN. I mentioned earlier that I thought the site was very clean and I think this is in part due to the lack of advertisements on the website.

One aspect of the formatting that I did not like was the inability to reach, and watch, older news stories. Only approximately 10 stories made up the sidebar, not including the livestream or the top CSBN radio stories. This is frustrating because I am not able to find a story from yesterday if I really want to. I did, however, enjoy the link to CBSN’s top radio stories because it made it easier to access radio, just like the NPR One app did.

Like the NPR One app, CBSN online is easy to use and has a simple and clear layout. Unlike NPR One though, CSBN does not personalize the news to the user. This makes sense since CBSN is trying to make their news available to everyone online rather than tailor it to specific interests. Granted, people can sort through the stories and focus on ones that they like, but to make the website more personal takes more work on the part of the user than NPR One does. That being said, both NPR One and CBSN are easy access and credible news outlets for people on-the-go with a desire to stay informed.

Recommendation: All in all, I would definitely recommend CBSN to friends and family members alike. It is, for the most part, easy to use and keeps users up to date on what is happening in the world. Despite it being hard to find past stories, CBSN provides a clear image and livestream that makes news more accessible to those who may not have time or cable TV.


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