Today I'd like to post about the technique of convergence on ESPN.com. For those of you who might be new to this blog, convergence is when more than one form of online media is used in the same place at the same time "to tell a story" about a single subject*.
A good example of convergence, and the one I want to talk about today, is ESPN.com's summary of the men's NCAA basketball game between Iona and BYU that took place on Tuesday night.
To talk about the game, ESPN used a written article from the Associated Press which gives the most important information in the headline: BYU beat Iona after being down by as many as 25 points.
Then they add a ton of other media to the main page about the game, including photos, multiple box scores, and three other articles (all of which I believe are blog posts).
In what I think qualifies as an excellent example of convergence, three of the print articles (the main article and two of the articles the main page links to) and one of the box scores work together to describe how Iona wound up losing. The three articles tell me that Iona's offense failed because of the defense of Brigham Young. The box score, located near the bottom of the main page and labeled "Iona's Epic Collapse," simplifies the game down to a few bare numbers, including the following: the Gaels scored 55 points in the first 15 minutes and 26 seconds of the game, but then managed just 17 points in the 24 minutes and 34 seconds that followed.
It seems as if these four elements really do a good job of explaining to me what went wrong for Iona on Tuesday, so I think ESPN.com practiced convergence well in covering this game.
In addition to these elements, which seem most important in providing an overall depiction of the match-up, there are some other items which add a little bit more to the overall tale of this contest. Most of them, if not all of them, are just fun, like a link to a SportsNation vote asking whether BYU's come-from-behind win was better than that of Western Kentucky's (I'd vote for BYU if I had the time). These additional elements aren't absolutely essential to the story, but they still add to ESPN's use of convergence in this case because they add a little extra detail to the overall story of the BYU-Iona game.
So as a whole I'd probably give ESPN an "A" if I were to grade them for their convergence in this case (I was going to give them an "A+" since they did such a good job with a technique I believe to be difficult, but the videos that were originally included as part of the story on the main page about this game have disappeared).
That's all for today. Look for one more post on ESPN's use of the convergence technique sometime before the semester ends.
*Note: I took the wording in quotations in the first sentence directly from my notes from my online journalism class. I tried to re-word this phrase, but I don't think there's another way to say "to tell a story."