6 min

February 2013 opinions about newspapers

"Keep in mind, that much of news we consume on the web is from newspaper and television sites."

Yeah, which is why I don't see the point of printed newspapers. I did not imply that printed newspapers and newspaper websites were the same thing. To me, they're vastly different entities, or they should be. Unfortunately, many newspaper publishers treat them the same. The same story can be found on the website as in the newspaper, which makes no sense.

The story on the newspaper website should contain significantly more info than the print version. The website should be loaded with photos, videos, context-links to other stories that provide relevant info, and the story text that was cut off because it did not fit in the print newspaper.

The newspaper website should contain more database-backed information look-ups, like the Blade did with salaries and could do with votes, such as the voting record of every local official. The Blade has created some maps-mashups with public info, such as crime stats, but a lot more could be done.

The newspaper website could also be a wiki-like information source, except all the info comes from old stories created by the newspaper company. The newspaper site should contain a directory structure or taxonomy of all of its stories for all the many different subjects covered by the newspaper.

It seems, the Toledo Blade published two stories about McNamara announcing his attention to run for mayor. Both dated Feb 12, 2013. The first story published before he announced. The second story published after he announced. The second story seems short.

Neither of those Blade stories contained links to other Blade stories or Blade information pages. It's a website. How can a Web story not contain links? That's useless. This is when a newspaper website acts too much like a printed newspaper. The only linking thing contained on each of those McNamara Web stories is the "Related Stories" section, which is good and Web-ish, but it's not enough.

Maybe I'm overlooking it, but where's the link to the full video of McNamara's news conference? It's the Web. It's okay for newspaper websites to display audio and video. Newspapers websites are not restricted to only text and photos.

Where's the link to the database-backed Web app that shows McNamara's voting record for his entire time on Toledo City Council? Where's the link to the Toledo Blade's info page about McNamara that also contains links to all the Blade stories that were about McNamara? Sure, using the Blade's search function can help find some stories, but a human-organized Web page or directory is better.

Who cares if it's too much information? Let the readers decide. The readers can filter through and find what's important to each reader. And if the info is organized properly, it's easy for readers to come back to the info later.

The newspaper publishers should think Web first and print as an afterthought if at all. If they don't have the resources to create such applications or directory structures mentioned above, well, that's the way it goes, I guess.

The Blade website, however, does many things right. They publish stories throughout the day and night. A new front page story was posted a short time ago. They have their blogs on various topics, a mobile-friendly Web display, photo galleries of the local area, video from other media outlets, the 'Our Town' sections for Sylvania and Perrysburg, and their Data Center.

This Feb 13, 2013 Toledo Blade story about an incident that occurred last weekend at Scott High School contains embedded video from 13abc.com. And this Feb 13, 2013 Blade story about TPS contains an external link to a report, located at http://www.auditor.state.oh.us. These are examples of the Web version of the newspaper being better than the print version.

Back to the second Blade story about Smokin' Joe announcing his intention to run for Toledo mayor. The text of this Feb 12, 2013 Blade story titled McNamara cites job creation as main task if he becomes mayor contains no Web links.

Proper nouns in a story should at least be links to Toledo Blade Web searches if specific Toledo Blade wiki-like information pages do not exist for the subject. In my opinion, this is how the first few paragraphs of this Blade story should have appeared on the Web:

City Council President Joe McNamara said job creation is the main task of the next mayor, and he said the incumbent mayor has fallen down at it, as he formally kicked off his 2013 run for mayor of Toledo today.

Mr. McNamara, 35, a Democrat, stood in front of a historic firehouse in Toledo's North End to announce his candidacy.

"Our mayor is responsible for making the most of the economic development opportunities that present themselves, and in this respect Mayor Bell has failed. I want to shift the focus of the city of Toledo's economic development, [to] focusing on jobs," Mr. McNamara said.

He said if people are earning paychecks, revenue will flow back into the city.

"We've seen a lot of turnover in the Department of Economic Development, we've seen the ball dropped many times," Mr. McNamara said, promising to roll out examples as the campaign moves forward. "We need to hire a professional staff in economic development that has a background, that is focused on creating jobs."

Mayor Bell, a political independent, declared his candidacy two weeks ago. Also running for mayor are Alan Cox, a city neighborhood development specialist and president of one of the city unions, and Opal Covey, a church minister.

Mr. McNamara, who lives in West Toledo, chose the location to emphasize his commitment to Toledo's neighborhoods. He said he fought to retain Fire Station 3 on Bush Street, an example of the historic nature of the Vistula neighborhood.

If all those links pointed to other Toledo Blade Web pages, then all that linking may encourage readers to spend more time on the Blade's website or Web properties. And naturally, when a reader clicks on the City Council link, that Blade Web page will contain links for each council member and links to previous council lineups and maybe links to other city-like info. It doesn't replace the city's website because the info is culled from Blade stories. All of the Blade's info created over many decades by many writers needs organized. Who has more historical and current information about the Toledo area than the Toledo Blade?

"Keep in mind, that much of news we consume on the web is from newspaper and television sites."

What's the definition of "news" today? We have political news, sports news, entertainment news, tech news, etc. I would guess that most of my tech news comes from websites that do not offer a print version.

tags: #media - #newspapers - #technology - #web - #socialmedia

From JR's : articles
1141 words - 6799 chars - 6 min read
created on
import date 2013-08-12 21:50:42 - #
source - versions - backlinks

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