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The Media

Why Haven't Online Newspapers Gotten it Right? 269

An anonymous reader writes "Kirk McElhearn, writing at Kirkville, discusses why he thinks that online newspapers aren't up to snuff. While his article reflects an "old-fashioned" way of looking at newspapers, that is by reading them on paper as opposed to on the web, many of his points are valid. Most newspaper web sites are poorly designed, and don't easily inspire readers to read their content. He doesn't offer any solutions (other than getting rid of ads to make stories more readable) but the issues he raises do merit reflection by newspapers and other websites with large amounts of content."
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Why Haven't Online Newspapers Gotten it Right?

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  • by muhgcee ( 188154 ) * <stu@fourmajor.com> on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:02AM (#14351757) Homepage
    ...and I wrote a letter [fourmajor.com] about it. No response yet.
    • by nucal ( 561664 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:35AM (#14351957)
      If the ads bug you so much, why don't you just read the articles using the "Printer Friendly" mode?
  • by scenestar ( 828656 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:02AM (#14351759) Homepage Journal
    I got sick of all the bread crumbs getting stuck into my laptop while eating breakfast.

    paper still pwns.
  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:02AM (#14351763) Homepage Journal
    Online sites in generally haven't gotten it right. If you can't read it on the porcelein throne, it isn't perfect.

    That being said, look at what online publishers have to deal with: non-uniformity. HTML is very powerful, but we still can't guarantee that an article will look as nice on everyone else's monitor as it does on the publisher's. Digital fonts still have a VERY long way to go versus paper printed ones -- kerning and other newspaper processes are not as easy to perform in HTML.

    PDF is a solution, but not a good one. HTML is far faster on every connection than PDF ever will be (try getting PDFs to look good on your mobile device).

    AJAX won't help here because we're mostly talking about static data, and you run up against the different resolutions, screen sizes and operating system problems again.

    I've seen some sites that use preset pixel-sizes tables and frames, and that keeps the site more consistent in look-and-feel, but still doesn't look the same system to system and browser to browser. If you have a huge monitor or a tiny one, these pages are a pain to browse.

    Raster? Too big and too restrictive.

    Flash? Does anyone actually use flash for content anymore?

    I can't figure it out -- and I do believe that whoever DOES figure it out will have a pretty penny hitting them from the dead tree publishers.

    I've been working on that problem for nearly 15 years. It bugged me back in my BBS running days. My only "solutions" I've come up with is to dump the browser entirely and offer "newspaper skins" for another type of Internet program: something that grabs raw articles from RSS or other feeds, displays them in the format YOU want to read them in, and even print them out newspaper-style. It isn't a great solution since it would require another app on devices that already are being app-downsized. RSS is key in this situation, but I don't think the RSS reader is the best way to display the information.

    • My only "solutions" I've come up with is to dump the browser entirely and offer "newspaper skins" for another type of Internet program

      bad idea, very bad one. in fact, it's already being done that way:
      http://www.newsstand.com/ [newsstand.com]

      first thing they do? cripple it
      no support other than windows. newspaper expires after 30 days. can't search article. in fact it's just the scanned version of the newspaper, and they charge nearly as much as the paper one
      • Well I think they expect people (like myself) just to be able to read the paper like I'm used to (well almost) so in fact all you need is a "scanned version". So for me this is exactly what I would need, and I can read it anywhere even when away from any place where I can buy a recent paper from country X.

        By the way, their website clearly states for their Ibrowse product:

        "At a glance:
        NewsStand's web browser reading experience, usable on any PC, MAC or UNIX based computer system with an active internet conne
        • iBrowse seems to be a relatively recent addition, or it might be up to the newspaper to chose if they allow it or not. last time i checked you HAD to download their windows-only reader.

          in any case, it's still crippled
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:10AM (#14351805)
      That being said, look at what online publishers have to deal with: non-uniformity. HTML is very powerful, but we still can't guarantee that an article will look as nice on everyone else's monitor as it does on the publisher's. Digital fonts still have a VERY long way to go versus paper printed ones -- kerning and other newspaper processes are not as easy to perform in HTML.

      Remember the slashdot article a few weeks ago about choosing the perfect web font? The general consensus from /.ers was that publishers have no right dictating the layout or what fonts are used to display the information. Making proclamations like that leads us to situations where people bitch about things looking like crap on screen. Either the publisher has a say in the presentation or they don't. Don't complain if it looks like crap when you tell them you don't want their input, though.
      • The point is that the publisher only gets to suggest the font/layout/whatever, while the user has the final say. Most users will see what the publisher intended, while those who wishes to customize their browser can do so. A girl I know from a long time ago is blind, and the internet came as a blessing for her, though the web was a bit hard to use. It is getting better and better in terms of usability for the disabled though, but some people want to take that away becase it's not "pwetty enough". Keep the

    • I think it's pointless to make on-line versions of newspapers mirror their printed counterparts. As was said, given the variablitlity in the technologies, platforms, and browsers, there can be no imposition of style that will work on all devices and in all markets. It's the same as this relentless drive to make a Linux desktop look like Windows; you can copy the look and feel, but you chain yourself to a set of requirements that are increasingly hard to maintian.

      What is needed is perhaps some new newsread

    • by ergo98 ( 9391 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:12AM (#14351822) Homepage Journal
      Online sites in generally haven't gotten it right. If you can't read it on the porcelein throne, it isn't perfect.

      It's called a laptop and 802.11. There was a stat released recently reporting that a significant percentage of wireless networking users have taken advantage of it in the can...am I posting this post from the bathroom???? >gruntHTML is very powerful, but we still can't guarantee that an article will look as nice on everyone else's monitor as it does on the publisher's....try getting PDFs to look good on your mobile device

      You are detailing two different problems. On the one hand, there is a desire for WYSIWYG authoring with exact rendering (e.g. PDF, as you detail). On the other hand there is a desire for client-specific layouts, conveying the content while allowing for a versatile layout based upon the limitations of the target (e.g. HTML). You can't really solve both simultaneously.

      • I've posted from the can (and the tub) from my PDA. It works fine, but it's no newspaper.

        You can't really solve both simultaneously.

        Not yet. Whoever finds the solution to that problem gets the billion dollar prize, IMHO.
    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:33AM (#14351941) Homepage Journal
      Online sites in generally haven't gotten it right. If you can't read it on the porcelein throne, it isn't perfect.

      I don't think that's it at all. If you had cheap digital paper newspapers hooked wirelessly up to the Internet, it would make no difference at all.

      The bottom line is demography. Serious people of my generation read newspapers and possibly some news magazines to get news. We may listen to radio because we can do it in the car. Middle-aged Joe Sixpack gets it from the 6 O'Clock news.

      Young people don't read newspapers at all. Older people will say its because they're philistines, and maybe we're right, but I don't think that's it either.

      I think what we're seeing is the death of the passive media consumer.

      Young people embrace media that is directly interactive (blogging), searchable (google) or which is minimalist but can be snapped together in custom ways (rss based services like podcasts and news feeds). I don't think young people even watch TV nearly as much as middle aged people did at their age.

      If I am correct, I think that fine control of presentation of content is the wrong focus. What newspapers have traditionally provided is trustworthy content backed by their reputation, that connects people to the interlocking communities they participate in. This is a critical service, now more than ever. Yes, considerable effort went into designing the presentation so that it is convenient and attractive, but that wasn't where the value is. Customers simply had no means of obtaining, organizing and navigating information on their own, so the providers had to do it for them. That's simply not true anymore.

      Kids aren't impresed by the heft and gravitas of the "Grey Lady" look of the New York Times; they are so media saavy that they understand that this look is a conscious marketing choice on the part of the NYT. If anything, I think kids would prefer to be able to skin the newspaper accordig to their own preferences.

      Now, more than ever, we need the society building power of professional journalism. But the business model is not there to support it. I've often thought a government backed electronic nanocurrency, with a transaction size limit of, say, $0.25 would be a huge boon to information providers.
      • I like your comments, but I don't really agree with the last part:

        Now, more than ever, we need the society building power of professional journalism.

        I disagree. The journalists are part of the reason of the failure of the media in recent years. The news seems to just be regurgitating whatever is written by Reuters or the other newswire agencies. I can flip to 5 different news networks on TV and get the same news that will be in tomorrow's newspaper. Yay.

        Journalists, to me, are people who keep journals

        • I disagree. The journalists are part of the reason of the failure of the media in recent years.


          I see this part of the death of journalism, because of the inability to create a business model which rewards trustworthiness. Back in the day, newspapapers were practically civic institutions. Today, people in the journalism profession find themselves as working in divisions of media companies.

          Journalists, to me, are people who keep journals of their opinions and of the news of the day -- and I like to see DIFFE
        • by Anonymous Coward
          -- and I like to see DIFFERENT reports, not the same damn things.

          Then what, pray tell, are you doing HERE??!? [slashdot.org]

          (couldn't resist!) ;-)
      • Young people embrace media that is directly interactive (blogging), searchable (google) or which is minimalist but can be snapped together in custom ways (rss based services like podcasts and news feeds). I don't think young people even watch TV nearly as much as middle aged people did at their age.

        Exactly why I don't bother with newspapers, even online ones. Newspapers are trying to stick to a pay model which doesn't work in the modern day age. People don't want to pay for content, let alone *old* conten
      • Very well written post, however I'd like to pick a minor nit--

        I don't think young people even watch TV nearly as much as middle aged people did at their age.

        I disagree here. People my agegroup (early 20s) watch tons of TV, it's just nearly all mindless entertainment, rather than news and current events or educational
        • I'm not saying young people today don't watch a lot of TV. Just less than most of us did. Think of all the time you spend gaming, blogging, or just messing around on the Internet. We didn't have the Internet. Computer games were much more primitive, fewer people had them, and nobody grew with them.

          So what do you think most of us did with all that time you spend wiht new media? We watched whatever was on TV, whether we liked it or not, just because it was before or after something we wanted to watch,
    • HTML is very powerful, but we still can't guarantee that an article will look as nice on everyone else's monitor as it does on the publisher's.

      It's not HTML's job to do so. That's the browser's job.

      Digital fonts still have a VERY long way to go versus paper printed ones -- kerning and other newspaper processes are not as easy to perform in HTML.

      Again, not the job of HTML. Job of the browser. "Kerning" is never adjusted except by font-defined rules; you probably meant tracking, which is increasing

      • A 5-10 increase in tracking is almost completely imperceptable to the human eye on 10 pt text, but will help make an article perfectly "fill" its intended space.

        Also of note is the fact that CSS does in fact support a letter-spacing, and even a word-spacing property, and the text-align: justify property. You could even specify a content-area's width and height in absolute terms (e.g. 120pt or even 112px where px means pixels). With some browsers, font-embedding will even work (it's a CSS2 property). So you
    • by Simon Brooke ( 45012 ) * <stillyet@googlemail.com> on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:01PM (#14352096) Homepage Journal
      That being said, look at what online publishers have to deal with: non-uniformity. HTML is very powerful, but we still can't guarantee that an article will look as nice on everyone else's monitor as it does on the publisher's. Digital fonts still have a VERY long way to go versus paper printed ones -- kerning and other newspaper processes are not as easy to perform in HTML.

      This really isn't a problem, and never was. And until people brought up on traditional media understand it isn't a problem, they won't use the Web effectively. Disclosure: I am a fully qualified offset litho machine operator.

      Yes, OK, the Web can't do in terms of consistency of image what an offset litho machine can do. But what the Web can do is not worse than what an offset litho machine can do; it's far, far better. The Web can render your content in the reader's preferred font at the reader's preferred font size - the size your reader is comfortable with, finds easy to use. Do not dictate to your user - he knows how good his eyesight is, you don't.

      Being obsessed with precise layout - the sort of problem which means that the BBC's site can never use more than a third of the width of my desktop display, but is unreadable on my phone because of sideways scrolling - is failing to understand and to exploit the medium. If you can't design your site templates to reflow gracefully to make use of the reader's screen and the reader's preferences, you have fundamentally failed.

      My only "solutions" I've come up with is to dump the browser entirely and offer "newspaper skins" for another type of Internet program: something that grabs raw articles from RSS or other feeds, displays them in the format YOU want to read them in, and even print them out newspaper-style. It isn't a great solution since it would require another app on devices that already are being app-downsized. RSS is key in this situation, but I don't think the RSS reader is the best way to display the information.

      Your computer already has an application on it designed to do precisely this. It's called a 'Web Browser'.

      • by Flying pig ( 925874 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @01:39PM (#14352770)
        You are totally correct. You might have added that one big problem is Word, which has trained loads of semi-literates to believe that loads of formatting and exact spacing somehow make a document better, when in fact all it does is to bloat it with redundant formatting and create a visual mess.

        I was talking this morning with a journalist of the old school who really understands layout, and in fact we were discussing the new Guardian format. He was describing how, in effect, the constraints of point by point layout for offset printing, and the need to design physical pages, mean that until people have years of experience with a new format they cannot get the best out of it. He thinks that the new Guardian layout will be really good in a few years...but for now, some content is being sacrificed to the need to fit the page layout blocks of the format.

        So why is this precise newspaper layout required? Partly for visual effect, of course, for the minority of people who have the necessary visual skills to appreciate it. But partly to produce something that can be read by the target audience. Because the audience cannot change the face and style to suit their requirements, it is hard to produce a one size fits all. The front page of a paper newspaper has to meet many conflicting requirements and so always is a compromise.

        Sometimes, of course, the front page is a thing of beauty where the images and the headlines join up to support the meaning of the stories. But how often does that happen nowadays? I could go on, but you've made the points already.

    • Online sites in generally haven't gotten it right. If you can't read it on the porcelein throne, it isn't perfect.

      Asking for "perfect" is asking too much. However.... wasn't there a recent article about a device where the news would be printed on the TP? That seems ideal, as it would make it very easy to express your opinion of the news once finished on the "throne."

      Skins isn't it, either.

      Generally agree with your other points. PDF=bloated, proprietary, DRM'ed. AJAX and Flash are impractical for content-

    • That being said, look at what online publishers have to deal with: non-uniformity. HTML is very powerful, but we still can't guarantee that an article will look as nice on everyone else's monitor as it does on the publisher's.

      I can't figure it out

      You can't figure it out because you are starting from an incorrect premise - that variability is a bad thing. It's not. It's a good thing. If I've paid loads of money for a high-quality, high-res monitor, I'm not going to want an identical down-to-the

    • FYI "digital" fonts have kerning built in for ages now and papers use exactly digital fonts for preparing their print releases.

      Or you think they carve them with tools into the matrix?
  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:03AM (#14351768)
    Just what I need, another username and password which, if I ever change browsers, will be lost. For what? Content that I can get elsewhere online, or through word-of-mouth chitchat at the office? Trust me, I am NOT clicking your banner ads, so the # of distinct page views is a meaningless metric to try and track. Just give me the content, or don't do it. The usefulness of the online medium is the a la carte mentality, don't try and apply an old model to it. Or come up with a way for anonymous micropayments (again, no FSCKING username/password) and for .25 USD, I'll read your damn paper online.
    • And how long until bugmenot.com offers registration information for people who can't be arsed to pay the viewing fee?
      • And how long do you think it will take them to notice the same username/password accessing the site from all over the world in a very short timespan? Porn sites figured this out a long long time ago, and services exist to help combat the problem(such as proxypass).
    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:31AM (#14351931) Homepage Journal
      There isn't an anonymous micropayment system available. I for the life of me can not think of a good system that will work. If you can then I suggest you get it up and working and make a few billion.
      That being said ads work and don't need to be intrusive. Google is making very good money with it's ad system and people don't mind it.
      I do agree with you about registering. It is a major pain and I avoid it.
      • What would be work best is a single account. You buy say an apple computer, with that computer you pay a single monthly fee say $9.99 monthly. For that $9.99 you get access to 25 song downloads per month, access to your local and your choice of up to 4 national news papers ad free, or with maybe a couple of small text adds (like google) and 10 streaming videos. In addition you get text messaging as cheap as email and of course an email account. This service would be available to your computer, your handheld
  • by therage96 ( 912259 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:04AM (#14351771)
    Of course the problem I have with many online newspaper websites is the fact that they require you to register to view their content. While I understand that is their right, I however can simply go to one of the many "free" news websites to get my daily dose of news.
    • I've found that setting up the User Agent Switcher extension with a Googlebot profile will let you into many news sites with no problems. For the ones where it doesn't work, bugmenot usually does the trick.
    • If papers aren't getting money from registration, donations OR ad viewings, why is anyone expecting them to give a shit about improving their online offerings? Frankly, this seems like a no-brainer to me. If I were a newspaper up against this kind of freeloader mentality, I'd just tell online viewers to shove it.
      • If papers aren't getting money from registration, donations OR ad viewings, why is anyone expecting them to give a shit about improving their online offerings? Frankly, this seems like a no-brainer to me. If I were a newspaper up against this kind of freeloader mentality, I'd just tell online viewers to shove it.

        Ever been to the BBC's news website? [bbc.co.uk]

        That's right: no registration, no donations, no adverts. Do you think they 'don't give a shit'?

        Of course they give a shit. They may not give much shit ab

  • by GGardner ( 97375 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:04AM (#14351774)
    Most of the author's problems with web design are solved by reading the New York Times via RSS.
  • by hostingreviews ( 941757 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:05AM (#14351781) Homepage
    ...online newspapers can't hire good writers because they have little or no budget, which drives away customers, which leads to less budget? Just a guess.
    • I dont think its an issue of budget. Most major papers such as the NYT Company and Washington Post have a strong online presence and large budgets. Also the articles penned in online format are written by the same authors writing the articles in paper format for large stories. IMO the only place budget factors in is for small news outlets in general that have no budget for writers in paper or online.

      Besides all news is crap nowadays anyway whether on paper or online. Its more about sales than it is about pr
  • Unsolvable (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wombatmobile ( 623057 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:07AM (#14351790)

    I don't have any answer to this conundrum, I don't know the best way to do this, but I do know that no newspaper I've read online gets things right. I want

    One solution would be for every news site on the internet to be re-written to please the author.

    But why would they go to the expense? Particularly since they already have the author's eyeballs:

    I get a lot of news from web sites: whether newspapers, magazines or TV channels, the main purveyors of information are the leading media brands. I read the New York Times, the Washington Post, Le Monde, along with other media web sites, and subscribe to RSS feeds for dozens of others.

    • Re:Unsolvable (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ElectricRook ( 264648 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:59PM (#14352510)

      It's not unsolvable...

      IMHO the solution is make the web "clean and simple", Google and Slashdot have the solution in operation.

      No one ever complains about slashdot's format... Grammer, spelling, & content yes, format no. On-line news sites are too much into glitz, flash, & sidebars. These things reduce the readability (i.e. they give me a head-ache), I go away, and I don't go back. The problem lies in the teaching of web publishing. Each class promotes the newest popping, flashing, glitzy doo-dad to catch the eye. Most web pages look like the bedroom of a spoiled western five year old the day after Christmas. Every noise-making-flashing toy is scattered across the floor, total bed-lam. The reader feels like the parents who look in at the mess, and go to lay down for a bit.

      News sites need to present a clean and simple "warm fuzzy comfortable teddy bear", not a "screaming tickle-me-elmo". But that's the schtick web publishing consultants sell.

  • The Guardian (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Grassy Knoll ( 112931 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:07AM (#14351791) Homepage
    Huh. Try The Guardian [guardian.co.uk], especially the ball-by-ball and minute-by-minute cricket commentary [guardian.co.uk].
  • by digitaldc ( 879047 ) * on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:09AM (#14351803)
    1. It's hard to read and article with a flash animation of a silhouette dancing with an iPod

    2. It's hard to read an article if you have to subscribe to the site or enter in data about yourself (which most likely will be false anyway)

    3. It would be advantageous to have each news site set up in different fashions (one for politics junkies, world news junkies, tech news junkies etc.,) so that the information that is most wanted is easily accessible with one click
  • by xoip ( 920266 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:11AM (#14351813) Homepage
    Here is the thing...Generally, newspapers are written for the grade 8 reading level and offer very little in the way of background, just a quick shot of information then on to the next story. Those that do that online, are not using the technology to build a user base. With the ability to post comments, papers like www.globeandmail.com give a reason for users to register online (to post comments)and create a richer experience where the point of view can be discussed.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I used to spend hours savoring the print edition of the NYTimes and I hated the online version. Then I got married and my wife talks too much to get much of the paper read. So then, I realized I was spending a lot of money for something I wasn't reading, so I started looking at the Times online for free.

    Now I realize how much time I was wasting on a lot of fluff. Online, I read only the important things, I can catch up a few days at a time, and I can easily save articles, email the, etc. It's actually a mu

  • Sentimental nonsense (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheBogie ( 941620 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:12AM (#14351821) Journal
    While I agree some things the author said, this statement seems to be nonsensical:

    But these same features are their downfall: readers of online media don't all see the same news, since they can customize what they want to see, and since many newspaper web sites display stories according to what readers have seen before; stories may change from hour to hour, even from minute to minute, so different readers will see different versions of stories.

    This huge advantage of online media prevents debacles like "Dewey defeats Truman" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_E._Dewey [wikipedia.org] from lasting more than a few minutes.

  • For what it's worth, if you're interested you might want to look here [jasmine.org.uk].

  • Funny Papers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Golias ( 176380 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:19AM (#14351857)
    I think the biggest problems newspapers have with making money off on-line offereings is this:

    Almost nobody who buys the paper does so to get the news.

    People who buy papers generally are looking for (in rough order of popularity and priority):

    1. Comics
    2. Crossword puzzles & brain teasers
    3. Horoscopes
    4. Sports stats
    5. Movie listings
    6. Everything else

    Items 1-3 are typically not owned by your local paper, but purchased through syndication deals, so the three most popular items in your local paper are missing from the on-line version. Also, IIRC, major-league sports stats require an additinal fee to the leauge in question to re-post them (and users can find them for free from espn or league web sites anyway), so those are also typically omitted.

    On top of that, the vast majority of "news stories" run in your local paper are cut-and-paste reprints of wire service reports. The amount of actual unique news content (not counting the editorials) is really very tiny in most papers. They are sort of like Karma whores who make "Link Slashdotted - Article Text" posts. (And they are every bit as redundant.)

    Newspapers are not news companies, and have not been for a long time. They are ad space companies. They just happen to use news content as one of several ways in which they capture your eyeballs.
    • I dunno about that. In New York, we have a bunch of free papers (ad-rags with pages of content sandwiched inbetween) that everyone in my team gets. We read them for the crazy local news (homeless man reads porn on subway, jailarity ensues) that you'll never see on cnn.com. And there's alot. Take the Daily News. First 15 pages are almost exclusively hometown items, unless some country got blown up or something. Stuff like "Historic Peace Accord between Norway and Ghana" is always buried on page 43.

      Like yo
    • On top of that, the vast majority of "news stories" run in your local paper are cut-and-paste reprints of wire service reports. The amount of actual unique news content (not counting the editorials) is really very tiny in most papers.

      Well, let's take online newspapers

      1) What you say is also true for online newspapers.

      2) Those that aren't, remind me of certain school projects - find three projects about the same subject, write something that is not plagiarism of any of them but brings absolutely nothing new
    • I subscribe (print + online) to the OC Register. The online site is very nice, and the subscriber site is page by page, article by article. The TOC is quite nice, and the comics are perfect. You can see the whole paper at a glance, or (at least in Firefox and Safari) mouse over any article, picture, comic, or ad and see it blown up in standard plain text or image format.

      In short, I love it. I also like NYTimes. I don't mind registering, since they aren't there as a charity :)

      -WS
    • Re:Funny Papers (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hackstraw ( 262471 ) *
      1. Comics
      2. Crossword puzzles & brain teasers
      3. Horoscopes
      4. Sports stats
      5. Movie listings
      6. Everything else

      Items 1-3 are typically not owned by your local paper, but purchased through syndication deals


      Keep going. 4 is most likely syndicated except for high school sports. 5 is bought from the movie people, I doubt a reporter goes and writes down the movies and dates and types them up for the paper. 6 I guess would include "news" which is bought from Reuters or Associated Press. The other local news
  • by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:20AM (#14351860)
    Because most companies get confused with decisions that let them choose between having a useful, profitable business and doing something that the decision-maker wants to be done for one reason or another.

    -because their advertisers/parent company demand it (full-page flash ads, registration)
    -they want to push an agenda (This week's editorial: Goofus and Gallant, staring Billy Boy and Linus Torvalds)
    -plain ignorance (Physical newspapers don't sort articles by date/time, so we don't need to either)
    -religion gets in the way (We won't publish news about white house scandal X because we beleive in magic sky being Y)

    And that's just off the top of my head.
  • by mcgroarty ( 633843 ) <brian.mcgroarty@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:20AM (#14351865) Homepage
    The Wall Street Journal transitioned online pretty painlessly. The stories are written about as they were before, but there are a wide variety of RSS feeds to choose from with some overlap so you can select by region or interest. They also have daily email summaries in a variety of formats and filtered for different interests, including story summaries for those who want just the quick and dirty. The ads seem to have been selected to be unobtrusive, but relevant -- like the difference between a salesman who's been building my trust over time, versus the carnival barker hanging out at other sites.

    One of the more interesting things is that the NY Times and the WSJ took opposite approaches when it came to paid content. Remaining free at the WSJ - via OpinionJournal.com - is almost all of the editorial content that sparks discussions and draws people to the site. You pay for the hard fact reporting and business analysis that backs up the editorials and makes famously accurate projetions about the future of the market and world events. The NY Times makes all of the daily reporting free, and then makes people pay to see the editorials that might otherwise keep people coming back to the NY Times' site. (For me, the net result has been that I continue paying for the WSJ subscription, but have stopped visiting the NY Times' site altogether.) Hiding the editorials behind Times Select has also lead to far fewer people linking to the NYT as the majority of the free content is already available in varying forms from hundreds of other sources.

  • by foniksonik ( 573572 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:21AM (#14351871) Homepage Journal
    The International Herald Tribune www.iht.com [iht.com]

    You'll want to click on an article to discover the true value [iht.com] though as it doesn't get really good until you start reading content...

    Notice how the entire article is already loaded into the page but it's broken up into 3 column sections that shuffle to a new page of text when you click the 'next page' button (which is triggered by clicking anywhere on the first or third columns), without reloading the html page (and without reloading a bunch of ads and all the 'extras' including the useful tools).

    This design is sooo much easier to read than any other I've found.. the only thing that comes close is a simple long page of text but even that has it's drawbacks as it becomes difficult to read when you are constantly scrolling every few paragraphs. In fact if you want to read it that way they have an 'article tool' to 'change the format' to vertical scrolling as well.

    The only thing I can think of to make it better is if they used keybindings on the arrow keys and pg up pg dn keys to control the buttons (though this is probably an issue of standard behavior across browsers at this time).

    On the commercial side of things, it looks like their text ads at the bottom are also going to be the most relevant ads they can be as they are based on the entire text and not some short summary or 1/5 of the article.

    As for the rest of the site... it's clean. Yes there are ads but they don't let them be too obtrusive and they way it's layed out, if you have ad blocking enabled, you won't even notice them being gone (which not all sites do well.. often removing the ads ruins the overall layout and is just as difficult to read as having them in).

    IHT is an exemplary site. I won't compare their content but as far as design and usability is concerned, they are the #1 Newspaper site on the web today.

    • It's hard to tell from the site, but I think IHT is a New York Times publication. See... http://www.iht.com/images/misc/breakfastsub33.jpg [iht.com]

    • Notice how the entire article is already loaded into the page but it's broken up into 3 column sections that shuffle to a new page of text when you click the 'next page' button (which is triggered by clicking anywhere on the first or third columns), without reloading the html page (and without reloading a bunch of ads and all the 'extras' including the useful tools).


      It's great when you want to copy-n-paste some text from the magic click to go to the next page columns.
    • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:28PM (#14352296)
      > Notice how the entire article is already loaded into the page but it's broken up into 3 column sections that shuffle to a new page of text when you click the 'next page' button (which is triggered by clicking anywhere on the first or third columns), without reloading the html page (and without reloading a bunch of ads and all the 'extras' including the useful tools).

      I'm sorry, but WTF?

      1) If Javash^Hcript is disabled, nothing renders.

      2) "without reloading the HTML page..." -- ah, I see, I download the entire article, and rather than using this perfectly functional mousewheel, or this perfectly functional scrollbar, for this one site, I have to click "next" half a dozen times -- in order to still never be able to view the entire article at once. In other words, you've added state to a web page that has no state. This is an improvement?

      > IHT is an exemplary site. I won't compare their content but as far as design and usability is concerned, they are the #1 Newspaper site on the web today.

      In an ideal universe, how many times did you expect me to click "next" to read your Slashdot article? This thread?

      The IHT's actually got pretty good content -- but as far as design and usability are concerned, I actually consider them the #1 example of how online newspapers haven't gotten it right. The IHT's UI is proof positive that even when a newspaper isn't trying to maxmimize banner impressions (via the unnecessary and annoying separation of articles into "pages") or gather demographic data (via equally-annoying registration links), they're still stuck in dead-tree mode. In short - IHT Doesn't Get The Web, and that layout of theirs is proof that they never will.

    • Superficially that seems nice, but there are some serious problems.
      1. The back button doesn't go back anymore.
      This is really reason enough to dismiss it immediately, but we'll continue to some details...

      2. Clicking on the left and right column to change page is totally unexpected. Did you know some people compulsively select areas of text? They will constantly be moved to the next page.

      3. The previous and next links are very small text-embedded images in a faint colour, beloved of graphic designers but actu
  • by Generic Guy ( 678542 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:24AM (#14351884)

    The worst part of reading a pulp newspaper is navigating the various pages to read the articles. Editors love to post "hunks" of articles across various pages, for various reasons. Some, to free up space on the Front Page, but most of the time it seems simply to force you to skim ads as you search for the next 4-inches of article text. And of course the text is smashed up into small columns already so as to fit around the ads in the paper. Personally, I hate trying to read the 'paper'.

    So now we have online news. Well, again many times it is hard to read and navigate because the text is often smashed into thin columns and forced around ads (often obnoxious, animated ads). Most online articles worth reading are broken into multiple "pages" which need to be clicked through, and entirely unneccessary most of the time, except to create more opportunity for ads. Online "papers" seem to be designed by similar people whom design the print versions, with the same headaches for readers.

    A side note, and personal peeve. Online, you see a lot more press releases passed around as actual news items.

  • by neo ( 4625 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:26AM (#14351898)
    The newspapers are too trapped in the old paradigm of finding news and deciding what to write about. Instead they should open up the flood gates and let the readers decide what they want to hear about. While that idea will sound horridly scary to editors who's job it normally is to pick stories, allowing your users the interactive choice will increase readership.

    Which would you want? A newspaper that picked stories based on what they thought would get readers, or one that listened to what you actually wanted to read about.

    Niche content wins online.
  • You ever try to juggle a lap-top on your knees while trying to do your business?

          And, besides, you can't swat flies with your lap-top either...(well, I guess you could......)
  • I found this at the very end of the article.

    "give me a good online newspaper, and I'll be happy to pay for it. As long as there are no ads..."

    I didn't look at the ads for the books he was hawking on his site, but if he had anything to do with them I would suspect there are ten pieces of information and two hundred pages of fluff in each one.

    • "give me a good online newspaper, and I'll be happy to pay for it. As long as there are no ads..."

      Why would they do that? They've already got you to pay for the physical copy with ads? Advertising saturation is a one-way tunnel, like your esophagus. They never go backwards.

      That's like a pundit saying "give me a good basic cable service, and I'll be happy to pay for it. As long as there are no ads..." The industry will just scratch its head and quietly ignore them.
  • These chats allow you to talk with the writer and typically an expert to further flesh out the story.

    Additionally, these chats can lead to follow up articles. One example is the "housing real-estate bubble" around the DC suburbs; there were follow on articles about the aftermath of adjustable, interest-only mortgages. [washingtonpost.com]

    These chats really give you a feeling of connection with the paper and even the community. Before going to a concert in DC I asked the Going Out Gurus [washingtonpost.com] wether I should drive into the Distric
  • I find articles of interest on different newspaper sites. One of the biggest pains is having to register before being allowed to look at content. I don't care what their marketing departments wants. I usually put in dummy information just to screw up their database. I know the newpaper executives have the puritan attitude of "you are not going to get what you want unless you work for it!". Usually the executives and the marketing department are in bed with each other and work closely.

    When marketing gets
  • by Xserv ( 909355 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:38AM (#14351977)
    Does anyone else find it mildly amusing that stuck in the bottom of the article between the comments and the article is a big, fat, moving FLASH animation advertisement?

    Maybe it's just me....
  • In the last month or two, the Austin American-Statesman [statesman.com] has gotten better. It used to have very narrow columns which made very poor use of space (side to side) on my landscape-oriented PowerBook and desktop LCDs. The column was very newspaper like-around 2 inches wide. Now it's about tripled. There are still ads crammed in, including a new, overlay style (usually featuring a road-runner, sprinting across my screen).

    That's pretty annoying, but they made it easy to close. I agree with the "use printer frien

  • Unstructured Data (Score:3, Informative)

    by clearcache ( 103054 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:45AM (#14352020)
    You know, it's interesting. We (humans) are quite good at indexing and sorting things. When most of us were toddlers, we learned how to put square pegs through square holes...how to organize things (toys) by color, shape, or function. When we learned how to read, we started small, but worked our way up to understanding the sections of a newspaper and what was fun (Comics) and what was not (Business). As our skills developed, some of us found journalists that we liked and some that we didn't - this helped us further refine our "searches" through newspapers.

    Sections, headlines, story titles, author, location - all metadata that is used by us to index the info in a newspaper. I don't think we have the capacity to use many more pieces of metadata to index a newspaper - there's a reason the newspaper is in the form it is today...we have hundreds of years of refinement. Newspapers that sucked weren't bought and "natural selection" resulted in industry norms etc that present the user with a very consistent interface. If I read the NY Times, the interface is similar to the Wall St Journal, USA Today, etc. It's predictable, easy-to-use, and well-defined. My choices are limited, but the format is similar.

    The web is a lot bigger than a newspaper - and the web presents the user with a number of different sources for info - all in a very inconsistent format. when I was growing up, there were 2 daily newspapers that we subscribed to - the Hartford Courant and the Journal Inquirer. Neither one was perfect, but they worked the same way for me. Today, if I don't like something I see on CNN.com, I've got a gazillion other choices out there. The challenge to the user is to find a mix of news sources that meet their appetites for knowledge. They also need to wade through the mountains of crap website designs that mean no 2 news sites are the same. I'm all for individual expression and I love clever unique designs - I like to think I've come up with a few in my time - but it does present the user with an interesting problem to solve. Some of us get it, some of us don't. Remember that article about Google users having a richer online experience? Some of that is because of Google - but some of that is because of the people as well. People who use Google are more likely to be able to cope with information overload and quickly parse out the important bits.

    CNN has another take on it here http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/12/26/information.eve rywhere.ap/index.html [cnn.com]. They're not talking about online newspapers, but I believe the issue they describe is the same one we face with online newspapers.

    How do we make sense out of petabytes of data? This is why I think the work Google is doing w/Google Print and the work IBM is doing with UIMA http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/uima [ibm.com] is so critical. We've long since outgrown the day that a file cabinet was capable of organizing all the info that's important to us. We've outgrown the filesystem as well. And the web has outgrown us.
  • Simple Reasons (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sheriff_p ( 138609 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:45AM (#14352023)
    People read newspapers for:

    * News
    * Opinion
    * Fun

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/ [bbc.co.uk] and http://www.cnn.com/ [cnn.com] have news completely sewn up in my mind. I wouldn't think of going to a newspaper's website for news - it'll probably be out of date in comparison.

    Fun - there are more fun things to do online, and reading a paper newspaper is much much more enjoyable than reading something on your laptop - less eye-strain, less weight, less worrying about $1000 of equipment having coffee spilled on it.

    So that leaves Opinion. There's a wealth of opinion on the net already, but some of the best opinion pieces come from newspapers. But I rarely go and seek these out - I'm normally pointed to them by other people. Besides, I read opinion pieces as a leisure activity - so see the above point.

    +Pete
    • I wouldn't think of going to a newspaper's website for news - it'll probably be out of date in comparison.

      There are many good news sites out there that deal with news on a national and global level. What's needed are good local 'newspaper' websites. I can't find out what is going on around my town from cnn.com unless we have a natural disaster. I have actually toyed with the idea of running a local news site for my town. Hire some college kids to write some articles, get some freelancers, run some g
  • by JamesTKirk ( 876319 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:48AM (#14352036)
    There seem to be two points here that have been covered too many times already.

    The first is web site design. Kirk (no relation) complains that you can't scan or skim on news websites, but a lot of sites have designs that approximate this. The Onion [theonion.com] has on its front page headlines, and about a paragraph of text. Just go through this page and you're scanning.

    The second issue is pay vs advertising. Peoples opinions seem to be divided on this. Everyone curses NY Times online for requiring registration, but several people have already commented on this article saying "I'd gladly pay, just get rid of the ads". Well, you have to have one or the other, and whichever method an online news site chooses, someone's not happy about it.

    In any case, these issues have been covered before, and it looks like this is just another blogger making up fluff-filled articles to try to wring out some revenue from his site. I wish this non-news wouldn't make it past the Slashdot editors.

    • The real issue here, one which the article seems to have missed entirely, is whether we can rely on the newspaper industry, which has historically been resistant to change, to understand and best take advantage of this "new" medium of the internet. It's not enough to simply lay out a computer screen so it looks like a printed page--and the debates about how to do that are misguided. What new opportunities exist on the web that CANNOT be accomplished through ink on paper? What kinds of interaction are now
  • Once upon a time I made daily visits to my local paper's online site. It was a pretty straightforward interface that allowed me to browse all of the major headlines as I scrolled down the page. Then one day, they redesigned their site, segmenting more of the content and filling the first half of the initial page load to PDF links to section covers. I bailed fast and made my way to the competing paper across the river (Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota still has two daily rags). While not my preferred news
  • The main problem I have with the big sites is monitor burnout. My eyes get tired of the computer screen after ... hours a day. No amount of responsible/innovative layout is going to solve that. And blinking click-me animations are enough to make you turn on Flash block.

    I find some blog sites interesting but blogging software limits the layout - and the bloggers I've tried to work with
    1) resent the fact they aren't setting type with their fingers,
    2) fear html or changing anything because 2a) they won't l
  • by Stick_Fig ( 740331 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:00PM (#14352087) Homepage
    But these same features are their downfall: readers of online media don't all see the same news, since they can customize what they want to see, and since many newspaper web sites display stories according to what readers have seen before; stories may change from hour to hour, even from minute to minute, so different readers will see different versions of stories.

    That was the point that got me. It seems that he's taking the main advantage of online newspapers and turning it into a fault.

    That said, a master's candidate recently did a critique of my paper's website, and he was brutal to a fault. He didn't understand the concerns of the newsroom -- or even how our print publication, which is unique, worked -- at all in many of his arguments, he picked away at the tiny stuff, and essentially ticked away at some of the things that lowly web design people and newsroom folks (I'm the latter, a graphic designer to be exact) can't touch for corporate reasons.

    Which eventually leads to my main point: Often, the structure of the newsroom is the problem with making many of the improvements needed. Advertising won't budge on something, administration won't budge, a reporter will get pissed if their story isn't given the play it deserves, editors don't trust their readers.

    But large newspaper sites? It's like vomited information, in blown chunks every-which-where, with no helpful structure, and it's starting to dry and get a little discolored. One of the things that my paper (Bluffton Today [blufftontoday.com]) has done, is that it's taken the interactive community elements and played them up. We're probably the only newspaper in the world that uses Drupal as a CMS. We've basically relegated, for better or worse, most of our content to a print version of the newspaper that you can weed through in an "As Printed" section. The decreased focus on the paper's content (which is distributed free to 16,500 people throughout the community anyway) has had the side effect of getting to the meat of what we should be for our town: A resource for the community, and an organic one at that. The blogs and spotted galleries are our centerpiece, and that's what makes it unique and useful to readers.

    That's the kind of thing, whether through institutional weaknesses or traditional thinking that large papers just suck at. There's such a focus on news judgment -- and how theirs is better than readers -- that they don't want to open the community input can of worms. Instead, they can't think outside the newshole or the thousands of tr and td tags that make up a newspaper front page.

    A friend of mine, an online editor for a Big 10 college paper, recently mentioned a talk he had with the editor of his college newspaper. He wanted to try some untraditional things similar to Facebook or MySpace, and the editor essentially brought up the trust issue -- he didn't trust his readers to have as good of news judgment as he did. That sort of institutional thinking is bad for an industry as a whole, and I have a feeling my more open-minded friend will go a lot further than that editor will because he is looking at the prize when it comes to online journalism, and it isn't the same prize as print. The prize is taking the community and making them just as much of the news generation process as the newsroom itself. When it comes to online newspaper websites, that's the untapped resource, seeping its way through the tertiary levels of the soil, beginning to surface in the newsroom -- well, after someone moves the coffee maker off the top of it.

  • Part of it is that newspapers are having the darndest time accepting transparency as part of the medium.

    For example, the local paper (Minneapolis Star-Tribune) won't break out for potential customers its visitor count by who comes to read the stories and who visits just to read classifieds or wantads. That's indicative of a "this information is ours and we'll use it the way we want to" attitude which, in an OPEN marketplace like the web, means that advertisers will simply spend their money elsewhere.

    Eventu
  • The sad part is I'd pay good money to get e-mailed a .PDF of the Los Angeles times or the Orange County Register (the local rag) that I could either print up for reading certain sections of, and/or transfer to my laptop for further reading en route to, or at the office. Alas, neither of them do this yet...they still want to drop a ton of paper at my doorstep which is inconvenient and bulky. Then they wonder why, despite numerous solicitations, why I never subscribe though I find them both enjoyable reads.
  • Think about it: When I read today's paper, I am reading for todays {headlines, metro news, weather, photos, comics, entertainment offerings, sales, classified ads} If I want to know what the headlines were a week ago, etc., I go to the paper from a week ago and scan, etc. the same way.

    Secondarily, an average newspaper page is what, 17x22 per page, 22x34 unfolded? Which allows detailed halftone and color pictures alongside the data, and still leaves room for the all important revenue producing ads. The av

  • It's a vicious cycle (Score:5, Interesting)

    by buckhead_buddy ( 186384 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:43PM (#14352372)
    I used to work in a big newspaper. This is all just my personal opinion and nonsensical rantings. Don't sue me.

    A website's editorial content or journalistic determination isn't the problem. Despite hard working researchers and reporters, more than 90% of the news came from the people. Press releases, internal leaks, revelations about a competitor. The news flowed in to the fax machines and telephones like a sewer. The editorial and journalist jobs were filtering the garbage, checking for bias and veracity, and then making it understandable. Other than a few high profile "investigative reports" the newspaper got exclusive tips because people go out of their way to pass them on to a big audience publication. Some people read the paper for those "breaking news" stories. And because the newspaper has an established audience, it will continue to get the juicy news tidbits. Having seen so much crap and biased stories, the editors on the paper are better at throwing away crap before it runs. A news website that runs an "Exclusive" because of a tip from a competitor that doesn't deal with 500 hot tips a day may be really running an exclusive tip, but more than likely is being played like a piano.

    There's also a lack of trust about the web. Yes, even today. Let's look at coupons. The Sunday paper always sold bigger than any other because of the massive coupons enclosed. Most of them were crap and really only designed as feedback that "Yes, your ads are being seen" to the retailers. In fact, it seems that a web coupon would work better because it could be customized with a serial number and much more information encoded about the viewer. The problem is that consumers think of coupons as money. They ones that are printed in color on high-gloss, heavy weight paper are thought of as more valuable than the black and white newsprint ones even if they offer the same value. If that's your attitude, what would you think of a coupon that you printed out yourself on your own printer? Even if it had a barcode, unique id's, and far more valuable information to the retailer about your statistics, most people would view these "print it yourself" coupons as just one step up from counterfeiting or writing "Save 20%" on a piece of notebook paper. Worthless. There are still many people who bend over backwards to clip and save "real" coupons and this still offers real feedback about the value of newspaper advertising today. Even with the great improvement offered by the web, it's not a trend that's going to be changed without a lot of re-education.

    Many websites I've seen have a determined and energetic editorial crew. That's great, but the news stories and editorials people write are just the bait. They aren't what keeps the reader coming back. People who don't understand the difference are confusing the journalistic content with the data content of a paper. For example, back in the eighties when I used to be big into comic books there was a newspaper called the Comic Buyer's Guide. No idea if it's still around today, but it was a weekly paper that offered editorial content about trends in comics, reviews, highlights of new writers and artists, interviews. Most of this very niche content were opinions I agreed with or subjects I wanted to read, but a big portion of the paper was the release schedules of when Marvel and DC would be putting out the next crossover series. I may have started picking up the paper because of the big Alan Moore or George Perez interview, but I became a regular reader because I got my lists of upcoming comics from them. Heck, even after I started to disagree with their attitudes and editorial stances, I still picked it up because of the data dump I was familiar with. The data dumps in newspapers are the sports scores, television listings, movie schedules, stock market results and many more. This data can today be dumped into the newspaper with no human intervention so it's very lucrative. Even some things like the personals, comics, horoscopes, and paid obituaries are set up to be constructed in a sim
  • The one thing I really hate is the online version will go through "revisions". There doesn't seem to be a mechanizim in place to "freeze" the story. I can't count the number of times I've gone to a news site and had the story I read three hours ago changed, words added, phrases re-wrote. Quotes changed! WTF? How can that be used as a reference if it's a "living document"?

    At least when I see it on a dead tree, the only way to revise the story is with a correction the next day or so.

    They should treat the
  • I don't think online newspapers can get it right, because I don't think there's any such thing as an online newspaper done right.

    Newspapers (as the name suggests) are an artifact of print. You don't need them online. If there's anything good in the New York Times today, I'll hear about it on Slashdot or Reddit or Digg. Why bother going to the Times's own front page, where all I get are Times articles?
  • Here's one..... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Simulant ( 528590 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:54PM (#14352462) Journal
    Anyone click on any of Google News' links the Yahoo/CBS streaming TV article yesterday? (Still on the front page this am...)

    I had to to hit about five different articles before I found a link to the site that they were all reporting on, and I believe the site I found it on was new web media, not a traditional paper's site.

    It blows me away how the printed media can consistently, even stubbornly, leave out hyperlinks (in both their web and print versions) when discussing events on the web itself.

    What's up with that?
  • I worked in newsrooms for a lot of years, and lived through several redesigns of print products. A tool that was really useful was Eyetrack [eyetools.net], a tool that improves reader studies by strapping a camera to their head and documenting which page feature (headlines, photos, text) catch the reader's eye. This has been used in newspaper redesigns since the early 1990, and was also used in a major study of online news sites [poynterextra.org] in 2004. There's a lot of data there that is based on readers' actual practice, rather than co
  • My problem with most all newspaper sites online is that they carry the exact same damn national and international AP/Rueters articles that every other news site on the Internet carries, and they cover their home page with them, making it difficult, if not impossible, to find just the local news.

    If I go to a local newspaper website, it is because I am looking primarily for news about that locality. Why would I get my national and international news from the Podunk Journal if getting it from CNN, the BBC, and
  • And that's the problem. Why would you read a newspaper site for ANYTHING but local news?

    There are a million news sites on the web. There are a million comics on the web. There are classified ads, editorials...everything. Good quality stuff is easy to find, and there's just so MUCH of it.

    Seriously. What does a local paper offer besides local news that isn't important enough to get reported on other sites? Nothing.

    The only advantage newspapers still have is their portability. Reading and actual print
  • The problem isn't with newspapers. It's with the state of journalism. Most newspapers these days don't have traditional reporters who go out and actually "investigate" stories. And if they do, they have a laundry list of taboo subjects (aka things that might tweak the advertisers) that they can't address or their editors will reject. As a result, most "reporters" just rewrite wire reports and manufacture fluff pieces... for example, I was in Florida last week and picked up the daily paper, and there was
  • Here's an idea: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SoupIsGoodFood_42 ( 521389 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @02:23PM (#14353036)
    How about they use images? Or even *gasp* links!

    Half the time I read an online article, when they mention a website, they never have a fucken link. Often they even have the website's URL slapped down but with no anchor tags around it.

    No to mention the lack of multimedia such as photos, diagrams, and videos in many articles where you'd expect such a thing. Nothing more annoying than an article about some new product and the lazy fucks can't even be bothered to get a photo in.

    Online newspapers haven't gotten it right because most of them are just bloody lazy.

    [end of rant]

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