Why Web Newspapers Stink #1







This morning I tried to read a story in the Washington Examiner. It was about a new website. The article had hyperlinks to every random article in old Examiners but no hyperlink to the website the article was about. Exasperating. A typical online newspaper. It could have been the New York Times or Washington Post website.

Newspapers made of inky cellulose are losing readers. Younger and more affluent readers tend to read newspaper websites, if they care to read news at all. Newspaper editors are boomers, who either fear losing web readers or don’t have a clue, so they forbid or avoid full use of hypertext, insisting that each newspaper constitute a closed, self-referential system, with hyperlinks only to itself. What infuriating nonsense.

When something makes no sense, look around for lawyers. It may be that lawyers tell publishers that hyperlinks to other sites make papers liable for contents on the linked sites or violate copyrights for material on the linked sites. Balderdash. If that were the case, links could flash a disclaimer, as many government sites do.

Perhaps the real reason is that editors, with increasing justification, do not believe in the quality of the writing of their own papers. They think that, once off the site, readers will not return. To stop this, editors would have to stop reducing the size and maturity of their newsrooms, stop the race to the bottom for the sake of the bottom line. Publishers would have to stop pleasing stockholders at the expense of readers.

3 Responses to “Why Web Newspapers Stink #1”

  1. Why Web Newspapers Stink #2 « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] readers on the Web, since publishers do not understand that the written Web is held together by hypertext. Papers will break page one items on their websites to ensure that the paper gets credit for […]

  2. Why Web Newspapers Stink #3 « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] aggregated their own blogs, the number of anonymous, lunatic letters has increased. Newspapers do not understand hypertext; a grasp of metadata is asking too much. Perhaps plain talk will […]

  3. New NPR CEO Got It « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] integrate print, web, and blog content; ads are present but not intrusive; and NYT editors (unlike those at WaPo) have such faith in the quality of their product thathyperlinks actually lead to locations outside […]

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