The Chronicle of Higher Education has launched a new and retro 2.0-ish look on the internet, and the front page looks remarkably like The Daily Beast. The scrolling image rectangle in the upper left is a feature that helped give The Daily Beast some energy when it launched last year.
Unlike The Daily Beast, The Chronicle incorporates the rounded edges of Teletubbies-sounding web sites such as Skoosh, Disaboom, Meebo, Plaxo, Bebo. Care to buy a vowel, or have the vowel sounded out by a Sesame Street character?
The rhetoric of design offers lessons in reading Chronicle 2.0. The designers have labeled their product “the New Chronicle.” Yet, the new look reinforces the Chronicle’s standard ideological messages, such as its allegiance to corporate America. Today’s front page includes a graphic from The Delta Project on Postsecondary Education Costs, Productivity, and Accountability, an organization devoted to advocating Fordist principles in higher education. The project’s executive director has had a career built on Total Quality Management. The mission of the members of the project is, among other things, “to generate the greatest return on investment.” Yet, the project’s members claim to represent an “independent” group. Independent = conservative, in this case.
Like The Daily Beast, the Chronicle offers its readership traditional journalistic pieces (about higher education) while serving up numerous dollops of gossip and trend-tidbits, along with TMZ-ish attention to academic celebrity sightings. Notice any similarities between TMZ’s web presence and the Chronicle’s?