Over the years, Variety has been a hub for entertainment news.From news about
the small screen to the silver screen, Variety has been providing its readers with an inside look to the entertainment industry, but how does its website hold up in the modern day of online journalism?
For the most part, Variety’swebsite is relatively easy to navigate. Each subsection of the website is labeled to give its readers an idea of what they’re a click away from, and with the exception of “The Dirt” section of the website (which will be discussed shortly), everythingis fairly straight forward. If you want to read news specifically about one section of the entertainment industry, there’s links right at the top of the page for you to click. If you want to simply load more posts for the section of the website you’re reading, all you have to do is move towards the bottom of the page and click the “More News” link. Variety’s labeling gets straight to the point, which makes for a user friendly experience regardless of how familiar or unfamiliar one might be with webpages.
That being said, Variety’s website can be a bit overwhelming when it comes to the amount of content happening all at once. While a majority of the website is labeled effectively, it can sometimes appear to be a large wall of text and pictures. Variety could improve on this by potentially spacing their content out more to make the overall website feel less crammed.
What works: Finding what you’re looking for can be easy due to the site’s effective way of labeling its content.
What doesn’t: Finding what you’re looking for also has potential to be difficult due to the amount of content all on one page.
Variety’s page layout is very reminiscent of a newspaper. The website has its header, its sections that give an idea of what the website covers, teasers to what articles are considered popular at the moment, and then all of its most recent stories.
This layout comes as no surprise, because Variety as an entity is
more than just a website. Variety initially started out as an offline publication, but has cranked out quite a bit of online content in recent years.
Variety paying homage to the physical platform that it had its start in works because it’s aesthetically pleasing to look at. Between the layout and font choice, there’s something about the website that looks clean and sharp.
However, there is one part of Variety’s page layout that I am not entirely fond of: the moving banner at the top of the page. This banner displays a few specific stories that are popular at the moment. While I understand its purpose, it feels a bit redundant with a “Featured Stories” column right below it. In my opinion, it might be better to simply have one or the other.
What works: The website’s newspaper-like appearance.
What doesn’t: The moving banner at the top of the page.
The overall theme for Variety is pretty simple. The website focuses entirely on entertainment and has become a major source for film and television related news. It doesn’t really stray outside of the entertainment field, and I would consider the website to be consistent in its writing and presentation.
Well, outside of “The Dirt,” that is.
“The Dirt” is a section of Variety’s website that focuses entirely on celebrity real estate. Initially, when I clicked this section of the website, I expected tabloid-esque gossip. Instead, I was given million dollar home listings. I’m not sure if the disdain I now have for this section of the website comes from the fact that I don’t understand how it fits in with the rest of the news the website reports on, or because I feel like it’s poorly named. Perhaps there’s an audience for this sort of content, I’m just not sure I’m apart of said audience.
What works: Variety stays consistent in the content it presents.
What doesn’t: The Dirty throws that consistency off!
Tone & Voice
Variety’s tone tends to be fairly journalistic. Articles tend to serve their purpose: to present news. If you want to know more about how a film’s production process is coming along, the website is going to give you the facts it has without much fluff.
However, there are a few exceptions to this. Reviews on Variety’s website have more obvious personal biases, and the language used in these reviews can be a bit more colorful than the website’s other articles. This makes sense because reviews are subjective.
Also, while news articles on the website might come across as a bit journalistic, Variety has its own way of spicing things up with its inclusion of slang. Variety as a company is actually well known for the jargon they use. I would say this helps them stay innovative.
What works: The website provides a nice blend of professional and personal.
What doesn’t: Not everyone is going to love professional writing, and not everyone is going to love personal writing!
Much like any other news publication, Variety has a large staff of writers. Obviously, there are going to be a few writers that connect with readers better than others. However, Variety’s writing quality is pretty consistent.
As I mentioned earlier, certain articles can come across as journalistic, but I don’t mean that in a way that’s negative. After all, the people writing these articles are journalists. They’re presenting news. They don’t always need to do so in a way that’s flashy or opportunistic. Variety gets straight to the point in their articles. They provide their readers with context, they deliver the story at hand, and then occasionally give their readers an idea of what’s to come on the subject. There’s a clear beginning, middle, and end in their articles.
What works: Variety provides its readers with what they want: news about the entertainment industry.
What doesn’t: Again, enjoyment of writing style often comes down to personal opinions. Not everyone will love the way Variety presents itself.
Variety is separated into multiple sections. It has its own part of the website for film, it has its own part of the website for television, and it even has its own part of the website that focuses specifically on awards season. As I mentioned about the site’s navigation, the way Variety is organized is incredibly straightforward. Other than the website’s celebrity real estate section, I’m able to know what I’m doing and where I’m going at all times.
What works: You’re able to know where you’re going no matter where you click.
What doesn’t: The Dirt! I’m unable to appreciate what celebrity real estate brings to the table, apparently.
Variety’s website is up to par. It’s a fantastic source for entertainment news, and does a great job at presenting itself in a way that’s fresh. There’s a few flaws here and there, but a good portion of those flaws could be found on just about any entertainment website. It’s also important to note that I am just one consumer, and that my views towards the website are not necessarily universal.