Sites of Interest: Exploring Entertainment Coverage on the 'Net

The purpose of this blog is to present more than simply my opinions on news and topics throughout the entertainment industry. I intend for it to work as a resource for others as well. This week, I spent time gathering pertinent websites on the topic and evaluated these sites using Webby and IMSA criteria. The sites can be found in the link roll at the right.

The first site I highlighted in my link roll is one that may be rather familiar for any fan of film and the internet, The Internet Movie Database, IMDB.com. The site is a virtual encyclopedia of film information, and is a great starting point for any type of film research. Recently the site expanded beyond just facts, adding features for daily industry news, making it much more versatile. The next site, TotalFilm.com, rather than an encyclopedia like IMDB, is the official electronic site of the movie magazine of the same title. The site's primary strength is its immense, well-structured content, which is well complemented by its rich layout, complete with full color images, interactive features and links to further resources. Similar to Total Film, the next site is part of an electronic version of the print magazine Empire. The Empire Blog is unique because it provides Empire's writers a space to provide new and interesting perspectives on happenings in the film world. Though not intended to be purely fact based, the writing is top notch and the insights are fresh. The next site is one of the widest read movie blogs, Slash Film. Because the posts range from box office numbers, to gossip and spoilers, the site presents an engaging read for anyone from the common "fan boy" to the filmmaker's themselves. ComingSoon.net focuses on exactly what its name says, soon-to-be-released films. Though rich with media content including trailers and interviews, the site tends to look cluttered and visually unappealing. Ain't It Cool News is a site largely built through fan contribution, whether it be reviews, set reports or article responses. While this makes it more interactive than the other sites, it lacks a authoritative feel. TV Week is a well organized look at industry news specifically affecting television. The site's mix of official news and sponsored blog links makes its content well rounded, and is its primary strength. TV Squad, on the other hand, provides a different approach, focusing on fan-friendly, rather than industry-friendly, content. The interface is blog-based and very easy to navigate, making it ideal for fan usage. The print version of Variety has long been lauded as a top source and on the web this is no different. Its main strength goes beyond its news however, in the form of special feature sections like Award Central and Festival Central, which provide additional coverage of specific events. Finally, and perhaps the most official site listed, is the Motion Picture Association of America. Unlike the other sites, the focus here is more on piracy and its prevention. While this information is crucial in a time where piracy is a serious issue, it is hardly required reading for the common fan, and this coupled with the site's drab look weaken the page's overall effect.

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