Most newspaper Web sites just aren’t very good

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I’m enjoying this blog Recovering Journalist and found this post on newspaper websites spot on (here).

“…But that’s the problem: They’re usually putting out online versions of printed papers. They’re still pasting newspapers onto a screen–and the state of the online art has moved way past that.”

“Spend some time with an online newspaper–and compare it to leading Web sites–and you know what I mean. Most newspaper Web sites have a gazillion links on the home page; the eye has no idea where to look. They’re ugly, overstuffed and foreboding. They’re trying to do way too much. The most successful Web sites, by comparison, usually are minimalist, and designed for quick scanning and visiting. Believe me, there’s no fast read when the “National News” header on a newspaper Web site sits atop 10 or 20 small-type headlines. Snore.”

“There’s more: Newspaper Web sites still are organized like, well, newspapers. They follow the traditional News/Sports/Local/Features model from print. That’s not a bad organizing principle, but it may not be well-suited for the Web, where readers are used to quicker, even simpler organizational schemes. (Check out Google’s home page, which is still all about pretty much one thing: search.) Focus on what readers want, not on how your print newsroom is organized.”

He’s even got solutions.

Hopefully someone will listen.

There Are 5 Comments On This Article.

  1. I don’t know if this falls right inline with your point or not, but I do like the setup of cnn.com. I know it’s not for a newspaper, but I think their landing page allows for categorical searches, or just a scan of the latest headlines. I also like how they show the top 10 most popular stories.

    Would you say CNN got that one right, or would you say it goes right along with these regular newspaper sites?

    One thing I do hate: local broadcast news’ websites. They try so hard to convince you to use their site for news, but I just can’t bring myself to it (and partly because of how hodgepodge everything is.)

  2. Rob, A little off topic here but, you’re so far silent on the Jill Greenburg controversy. I’d be curious to hear your perspective on her comment that the Atlantic is to blame for hiring her in the first place.

    howaboutit?