Navigating newspapers: Part 3 - A question of sports
Last week I began publishing a series of posts looking at the primary and secondary navigation on 9 national UK newspaper websites. In part one I looked at the huge variety of labels used by the sites to describe their content. I then looked more at the similarities, discovering how similar topics mapped together across the papers. Today I want to focus on sport.
Sport is one of the most common primary navigation labels, used by every single paper. However, there are significant differences in the sports and links that then feature in secondary navigation. It gives us a good idea of which sports are significant for each newspapers audience, and how they refer to them.
This table illustrates the most popular labels, and which newspapers employ them as part of their sporting navigation.
|F1 & Motorsport|
|Latest / Headlines|
Football totally dominates the landscape. It is the only sport that appears in every single set of secondary navigation, and additionally, many of the newspapers also run their own version of the popular "Fantasy Football" game. For good measure The Sun even chuck in an extra section specifically about football transfer news.
The codes of rugby
The division in the UK between Rugby Union and Rugby League has often been viewed through the prism of class, and our national newspapers seem to reflect that. The Telegraph has Rugby Union as a second-tier navigation link, but not Rugby League. The reverse is true of the Daily Star, which features a navigation link for League but not Union. The Mail and the Mirror both solve the problem by referring to a mythical unified version of the game simply called 'Rugby'.
A lack of video
Given that sport is such a visual medium, only The Sun and The Telegraph feature 'video' as a secondary navigation link. This reflects, I'm sure, much more on the cost and availability of sporting footage online, than any lack of desire to include sporting clips on newspaper sites. The Guardian gets around the problem by regularly compiling clips from YouTube which it knows are in violation of copyright, but, as it is "linking out" rather than "hosting", it guesses it can get away with.
With the Olympics in mind we always look to the athletics performance of Team GB as a benchmark for success, yet only one newspaper, The Independent, can find room for athletics in their navigation. They are also the sole champion of sailing. Despite the huge medal haul in Beijing, cycling doesn't get a look in on any paper.
The Daily Express finds itself the only paper boasting in-depth coverage of netball and speedway, and it is The Sun alone which finds Wrestling to be a separate topic. Sticking with the ring, The Sun and the Daily Star feature the only appearance of Boxing as part of a site's navigation.
Tomorrow I'll be continuing this series with a brief paper-by-paper run through of the interesting points about their main navigation schemes, starting with the 'red tops' and the 'middle market' papers.