Principles of Online Journalism: Recent Guardian Article as Case-Study

While browsing The Guardian for this task I found a story on a recent FlyDubai plane crash in Russia, in which 62 people died. I chose this article as many of the features of online journalism — that were covered both in class and in the required readings — were clearly displayed.

There is a clear and concise headline that contains the key points of the story, and an ‘intro-as-summary’ ; as Rohumaa argues, these are vital aspects of ‘search engine optimisation’ (SEO) and improve the ‘scannability’ of an article (2011:36).

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Video embed and paragraph style (screenshot).


There is also a lot of white space on the page. Paragraphs are of similar but easily digestible length, allowing the eye to ‘easily take in the point and orientate on a scrolling page’ (Dorner, 2002:56).

There are two embedded videos, two photos, six hyperlinks (easily noticeable due to the standard blue font colouring), and an intuitive and eye-catching map of the doomed plane’s final moments, along with a separate graphic that shows the drop in altitude that preceded the impact.

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Flight map graphic (screenshot).

One way to improve the article would be the addition of bullet points with the major facts of the disaster; though with nearly 1700 shares on social media, the article’s author Shaun Walker is clearly an experienced hand in the world of online journalism.

(Tamas Allenby, SID: 310218586. Word count: 209)


Dorner , J. (2002). ‘Good Web Writing’. In: Writing for the Internet. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rohumaa, L. and Bradshaw, P. (2011) ‘Writing for the Web’. In: The Online Journalism Handbook: Skills to Survive and Thrive in the Digital Age. Routledge.