I took a look at msnbc.com. This site is more visual than most news sites. There is a large area in the center with pictures of current news happenings. The sidebar is where the actual content exists. This is good organization in my opinion, because instead of clicking on links constantly, you are scaning the topics until you find the exact link you need. This aviods the overuse of the back key and saves time. The sidebar uses general categories first such as news, business, entertainment, and then if you click on the category it opens to a large assortment of articles to choose from. Plus at the bottom of the list there are subcategories that allow more complicated sections like sports to be better organized because there are categories specific to each sport (basketball, baseball etc.). As you scroll down the page the categories are listed with main articles you can open directely from the first page. This allows two possible ways to navigate to the article you want to read.
Along the right side of the page, there are advertisments, but they are disguised as stories by portraying the advertiser as a sponsor. For example there is a science section that says "are you curious about your family tree? Find out more here. sponsored by Ancestry.com. And a travel information section about cruises sponsored by Cruise Value Center. There are two advertisments and they are labeled advertisments right above them. One is more of a flash program advertisment so it is clearly an ad.
There is a great deal more content than advertising, but I did find it interesting that some advertising seemed to be hidden. If I worked in media, I would consider this a mediocre site to work with, because by hiding some advertisng and showing real advertisnig right next to it, it may lower the credibility of the site's advertising.
The site also dedicates a good amount of ad space to the popular NBC television programs. THis makes sence since the site belongs to NBC, but they also mix this advertising with content. FOr example there is a section with a small title "Today" and it has a link to an article about women and body image.
There is a MSNshopping link at the bottom of the sidebar and I find that a bit curious. Over all the site is easy to navigate, but needs work with its advertising layout and content.