Friday, October 10, 2008

Print-alike online magazine

Few days ago, I received this online magazine in my mailbox, and I kept reading and watching for at least 10 minutes (and that means a lot). Not as much because I like gossips and other non-news, but because I liked the way the news is presented in this print-alike online magazine. Nice work!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Media4[ME] Den Haag

Last week, I was in Den Haag at the first Media4[ME] conference. During my talk, I presented the first preliminary results of my computer and eye tracking experiments that I conducted about one month ago. During the next two-three months, I will further analyse all the data I gathered during these experiments in a way to provide an answer on the question 'do multimedia, interactivity and hypertext benefit the learning process and knowledge outcome during and after online news consumption?'. I let you know if the results are there!

ICA Montreal

Two weeks ago, I was in Montreal for the annual ICA conference. I presented two papers, the first one about parental mediation of television viewing throughout adolescence, the second one was titled redefining multimedia: the (dis)integrated use of media and modalities.

The latter presentation discussed an important part of my Ph.D. research about the concept of multimedia. I question the use of the concept multimedia when speaking of the combined use of text, video, pictures and audio on for example news websites. In this paper I suggest that it is better to use the concept of multimodality instead of multimedia.
I received a lot of interesting questions and suggestions during and after my presentation. Especially the notes of my respondent, prof. dr. Singer (U.K) were very valuable for me, for which I want to thank her again. During the next two weeks, I try to rewrite this paper into an article for publication.

Apart from the conference, I just fell in love with Montreal! Great city, nice athmosphere, friendly people, beautiful hotels, ... this trip made me get charged up again.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Read aloud modality

When I was looking for some news coverage about the tragedy of the Belgian soccer player Francois Sterchele who died this morning in a car crash, I discovered a great modality of interactivity. On the Dutch news site of, one can click on the 'read aloud' button so that a gentle woman reads the message aloud. Apart from some pronounciation problems (clearly it is a a computer software program who transfers the written text into voice so that for example names aren't well pronounced), this feature can be a great help for people with hearing problems!

I haven't seen this feature on another website, if someone of you knows another example of this innovative feature, please email me!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Important three days

Tomorrow and the two days following tomorrow will be of high importance for my research. During these days, my third research phase takes place.

Research question: how do online vs. standard online news messages differ in effect on information-processing and objective and subjective knowledge outcome

Procedure: computer experiments + eye tracking experiments

Manipulations: 4 stories in 16 different versions: Form (2) x complexity (2) x Story (4) x Order (4)

Location: Centre for Media Research in Leuven

Participants: 70-95 students

Wheather forecast: hot, hotter, hottest

My personal condition: very tired, but excited

Special thanks to: my supervisor Prof. d'Haenens for making this idea possible, dr. P. hendriks-Vettehen and dr. Peter De Graef for their valuable contributions to my experimental design, the Flemish Ministry of Media for funding this innovative research and of course Koen Moens, webmaster of for doing a great job when manipulating the online news stories and answering my email questions so quickly!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Third research stage: manipulations of online news stories

The first two research stages of my ph.d. (content analysis of features of online news media and online survey towards the differences in use of online news media and features) are finished, so it is time to move on to the last stage. In this phase I will test the effect of multimedia, interactivity and hypertext on the information-processing and the knowledge outcome during online news consumption. To test the impact of these formal and structural features, we have to set up some manipulations so that there are different versions of online news stories, one version with an adequate degree of multimodality, interactive features and hyperlinks, and another representing the same story but in a standard (or better offline) version without the key features of online news. We will conduct some knowledge and eye-tracking experiments to test the online consumption of different stories presented in different versions.

But since I'm not a webbuilder, I needed someone who could make the manipulations of the online stories. I needed a website that uses already as many as possible features of multimedia, interactivity and hypertext, so that it won't be a big problem to ad some specific features like reactions, videos etc. Therefore, I decided to ask The Persgroep (editor from, en to make the manipulations. After a very interesting and stimulating meeting with Gert Francois (manager New Media) and the webmaster, they decided to help me out and to make the adjustments on the selected online news articles I found on the internet. These manipulated online articles will be used in the experiments that will be conducted on 7-8-9 may.

A special thank you goes out to The Persgroep!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Online-only videos in digital newspapers

Most of the Flemish digital newspapers and news sites use videos to illustrate the articles and to cover the news. Companies like Zoomin offer the possibility to digital news sites to buy videos and to put them online. Also video platforms like Youtube or GarageTV makes it possible to refer to some footage of a news event. There are also sites that link to videos that are made by television stations. Few of the news sites however make videos on their own, with the specific purpose to use them only for the website. With regard to digital newspapers, GVA started a few months ago with 'news in pictures', but this is more a slideshow of pictures then a real video. Therefore, I'm happy to see that and De Standaard Online started using online-only videos. Hopefully, this will be a stimulans for other digital newspapers to make videos on their own. After all, all you need is a simple camcorder, some(free) editing software and ten creative minutes.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


We all know that youtube is a bless for newssites that want to illustrate their stories with some videos. Sometimes, the use of Youtube movies is not as logic as it may seem at first sight. See for example this article about yesterday's UEFA match between Anderlecht and Bordeaux. At the end of the article, one can click on a youtube movie. The strange thing is that (which is a newssite of de media group VMMa that also has television channel VTM in its holding) is presenting the highlights of the match which was originally broadcasted by the public television VRT, in the offline world the competitor of VTM. So the voice over is in fact a VRT reporter, and this on a VMMa website. Why doesn't link to the short highlighs of the match as it was used in the news on VTM? With the voice-over of the own VTM reporter? Is it a technical problem? If anyone knows why, please email me.

I also wonder if this use of embedded link to the highlights of VRT isn't a infringement of the copyright. In the offline world, every television station has to pay a certain amount to the competitive company which has bought the broadcasting rights of that game. And I assume did not pay a fee for putting this link online.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Monday will be d-day for the VRT who is changing is website from to I've always been a great fan of the newswebsite of the Belgian public service broadcaster and I'm looking forward consuming the news from Here you can see a preview of what the site will look like. I've read in the newspaper that the black banner on top of the page will also be part of the decor of the news programs on vrt television. Apart from that, also the use of anchors' faces on the website is remarkable.

Friday, January 4, 2008

User-generated photo

Today on and, a picture shows the damage after a car accident in Belgium. The picture is obviously of inferior quality than a professional photo. As we can see, the photo is taken from the inside of a car passing by. The eye witness seems to be Sam Hermans. I think this is one of the first times a famous, traditional newspaper uses user generated pictures to illustrate an article and note the author's name. If anyone knows more examples of the use of user-generated pictures by traditional digital newspapers where also the name of the amateur appear on the site, feel free to mail me the links.
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