Presentation lessons learned from Super Tuesday news coverage

My roommate and I sat down on November 6 like everyone else and watched the coverage of the election results on CNN. Halfway through I jokingly told him to turn it to MSNBC so we could see how much better they were covering the results. There was a drastic difference between the way the two stations utilized graphics and visuals to convey the election results. The teacher in me instantly noticed the difference and actually tried to identify why one was more effective than the other.

I was mesmerized at how the CNN graphics caught my attention and got me to understand the information within seconds of seeing it. They used vibrant colors that caught and held my eye. John King was able to expand his images and go into details to help us understand exactly why specific states were voting a certain way (county results). I also noticed that CNN used the bulk of the screen to showcase their results. Their presentation was dynamic. I couldn’t not pay attention even though I tried a couple of times. I’ve included pictures and a video of the results.

MSNBC on the other hand used dull colors. They seemed to use only half of the space available to them to convey information to the viewer. Their images and visuals were unappealing to my eye. I found myself looking at the screen for several seconds, and still not coming away from this with any information about the election.

Teaching is big on Smartboard presentations and powerpoints these days. I’m planning to use CNN to as a model for how I make my presentations in the future. What do you think about the CNN vs. MSNBC graphic usage?

Also – thanks to the amazing and talented Alicia for reading my blog. And yes, I miss and think about my Boston and YouthBuild family everyday.

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1 Comment

  1. Very interesting observations about Election night cable news coverage. I think many observers assume CNN and MSNBC present their content essentially the same way. Your assessment proves they don’t.

    Also, your point about appealing to the viewer is a good one. Visually, CNN looks better, but somehow, MSNBC consistently beats them in the ratings. What’s up with that?

    Maybe the content of MSNBC’s messages, and their messengers, trumps CNN’s delivery methods???

    People enjoy French pastry- but not for every meal, everyday.
    : ))

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