The Daily Beast is a popular news and opinion website that was founded in 2008 by Tina Brown and was owned by IAC, according to the site’s about page. The Daily Beast and Newsweek had a merger deal in 2010 and created The Newsweek Daily Beast Company. On Aug. 3, 2013, it radically changed direction when IAC sold Newsweek to IBT Media. The site prides itself in being ranked as number one in growth, digital reading, and opinion leaders and is “dedicated to breaking news and sharp commentary”, according to the site’s media kit.
The Daily Beast has a prestigious staff of “columnists and contributors [who] are some of the most iconic and influential personalities in media – attracting loyal and highly engaged followings”, according to the site’s media kit. Tina Brown is the current editor in chief of The Daily Beast, Deidre Depke is the managing director, and John Avlon is the executive director.
The Daily Beast seems to target content more toward women and people with less education, according to Alexa.com’s profile on the site. The site has 19MM monthly visitors and 3MM social followers, according to the site’s media kit.
Their home page features a lot of big, bold text and various pictures that give the site a sensationalistic feel. The content seems very mixed with coverage of hard news and sprinkles of entertainment features.
The home page does seem to be laid-out with eye-tracking studies in mind. Some of the headlines on the right may seem jumbled up but the bright colors and outlined sections help to navigate through key sections and stories. The bright red colors especially draw the eye around the page starting from the logo to the “Cheat Sheet” column, other headings and everything surrounding them. The biggest, most recent news headline is displayed at the top and is linked to the story’s page.
There is no dominant photo on the home page but there is a decent-sized photo gallery that runs on its own. The “Cheat Sheet” column is displayed right in the middle. Major sections of the site are just one click away from the home page but there is no corrections page linked to the home page. The main navigation bar is under the dominant headline on the homepage but is at the top of the site for the other sections. The About and the Contact Us pages are linked at the bottom of the home page.
The Daily Beast is well known for its “Cheat Sheet” page that’s comprised of curated stories that have one paragraph summaries, an image and links to the stories’ original sites.
The stories are well-written, concise and allow readers to consume a bunch of news in a short amount of time. Some stories are much longer and go in-depth on certain topics. They don’t really use a lot of bullet points put they do pull quotes from stories and enlarge them in the middle of stories very much like a magazine, which helps the story to breathe and make online reading easier on the eyes.
The site also has other various sections, including “Beast TV“, “Politics Beast“, “Business“, “Book Beast“, “Art“, and “Sexy Beast“, a Fashion and Entertainment section, all located on there navigation bar. “Beast TV” is compromised of original videos and curated videos. They are all fairly short clips that just show essential tidbits or soundbites of any given topic.
The layout of each section’s page varies with the hard news sections like politics and business containing two columns – the left side displays stories with a photo and long abstracts while the right side contains headlines, a mini photo gallery and a video section. The entertainment, fashion, books and art sections display photo galleries right at the top, underneath the navigation bar. These sections also have two columns but are filled with more visual content than the politics and business sections. The “Women in the World” section’s page layout is nothing like any of the other sections. It has no navigation bar and the color scheme is red, yellow and purple as opposed to red and black for the rest of The Daily Beast’s content. Its page displays large photos at the top and has three columns – one for “News”, “Lifestyle”, and “Call to Arms”.
The Daily Beast really takes advantage of photojournalism by posting a lot of photo galleries and a graphic for every story. The site’s “Beast Galleries” contain a “Week in Photos” section along with other timely topics. The site also posts up a new “Photo of the Day” that spans the width of the center of the home page that you can’t miss. The photos are well composed and mostly curated from other sites and photographers.
The Daily Beast has 80 interactive elements. Many of them are map mashups and info graphics. There are no chats or blogs but there is a comments section at the end of each story. The site coverage of the 2012 presidential election used a great interactive state by state map that updated live on election night. The “Election Beast” page also featured content like stories, its own “Cheat Sheet”, photo galleries and videos.
Their database had 5 refined search categories such as Stories, Cheats, Galleries, Videos and Interactives which can be sorted by relevancy or date and can be filtered by a certain amount of time.
The site has a Facebook share, Facebook like and Tweet applications at the bottom of stories, next to images in their photo galleries, and at the bottom of their videos.
The site also has a Facebook and Twitter account that encourages people to comment and engage with one another about stories. Their tweets are short, simple and to the point with a link to full-length stories.
About nine million unique visitors go to the site per month, according to quantcast.com. The amount has steadily decreased in the past year. I’m assuming they had their highest amount of unique visitors last October because of the presidential election.
The editors and publishers might want to consider separating their hard news and soft news a little more on their homepage. Having content jump from politics to fashion doesn’t make the site seem very organized.