Disclosure: My father, David Dobbs, blogs on wired.com’s Wired Science section. For that reason, I’m not going to cover that section in this review, but focus on the site as a whole for the most part.
Wired is one of the best-known news sources for technology and science news content. In both its magazine and online, Wired produces content covering an amazingly wide range of subjects, from diamond heists to hand-built cocaine submarines to the science of happiness. Because of this breadth, Wired has become my one-stop-shop for interesting features and all sorts of tech news. Relating to WikiLeaks, Wired’s Threat Level blog has done a great job of covering WikiLeaks and many other privacy issues on the web.
An interesting aspect of Wired’s operations is the divide between the magazine and the website. Wired.com has its own editor-in-chief and produces the vast majority of its own original content. The magazine and the website staff also occupy separate newsrooms within the same building. Content from the magazine is confined to a single sub-section of wired.com (though some of the magazine’s headlines do end up on the front page.)
If the website was formatted differently, the divide between the magazine content and the web-only content would be a big problem, but since the site’s main page consists of a mix of the most popular or notable content from all sub-sections of the site, web users still get exposure to the bigger stories in the magazine. Magazine content goes up two weeks after the magazine is released, presumably to provide an incentive for people to buy the magazine, but once it is online it is totally free.
The best part of wired.com – and what makes it unlike nearly every other site on the internet – is the sheer breadth and depth of content on it. There are 13 blogs, more than there were a year ago (the “Playbook” sports blog is a new edition), all covering different things from serious news about net neutrality and WikiLeaks to more playful coverage of awesome tennis-playing quadricopters. This variety of coverage makes the site appealing to a very broad audience and also makes it a go-to news source for all sorts of coverage.
One aspect of wired.com that could be improved is their videos section. The videos in that section are so rarely advertised on the front page that it’s hard to find reason to even click on the section’s tab. The best videos on wired.com also tend to be embedded within a larger post, not stand-alone pieces. This is fine, but if the site has a video section, the quality and context of the videos should be better.
Overall, though, wired.com provides an exceptionally high level of content – both in quality and quantity – in an easily navigable and well-designed format. I definitely recommend the site, even to people who don’t consider themselves nerdy enough for Wired.