Searching The Daily Star and The Sunday Sport

Martin Belam by Martin Belam, 12 July 2006

Over the last couple of weeks I have been evaluating the search services offered by the online editions of British newspapers. In this last look at individual papers I'm focussing on two of the lesser-selling and frankly less serious newspapers on the British market, The Daily Star and The Sunday Sport.

The Daily Star is generally seen as Britain's third red-top tabloid, after The Sun and The Mirror, although in recent years it has been gaining ground on them both in terms of sales. Like The Daily Express, it is owned by Northern and Shell Media Publications, and the search experience offered online is exactly the same as The Daily Express. The site offers a choice of searching over the web and the Thomson local directory, but no site search.

Daily Star masthead

The search results template is exactly the same as The Daily Express, with a title, dynamic excerpt and destination URL displayed for the web search. The only difference is that it features Daily Star branding.

Daily Star search results

The Sunday Sport established itself in the 1990's with a series of outrageous front page headlines including such gems as "World War II Bomber Found Moon" and "Adolf Hitler Was A Woman", but in recent years has increasingly relied on explicit sexual content to sell newspapers. The online site is no different, which made for some pretty uncomfortable research browsing in a public internet cafe.

It was quite difficult to judge the relevancy of the results from the search on the site, since the stories included don't seem to bear much relevance to real life. In fact, I wouldn't have included the paper in the survey at all, except that the search on The Sport's site shows one innovation not demonstrated by any other British newspaper. Searching only generates 5 results, but given the predominantly graphic and visual nature of The Sport's content, search results are delivered which include a thumbnail image for each story, which was unique amongst the newspapers I looked at.

Sunday Sport search results

Tomorrow I'll be rounding up all of the newspaper searches I've looked at in my survey.

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