Why is it that Old Media, specifically newspapers, have the WORST websites?
I know a person or two in the Richmond area that can vouch for this @ Media General, but the issue expands far and wide.
Maybe it’s because what works in print, doesn’t work for the web. I would assume that layout and design elements would be dramatically different between the two. But I would like to throw this into the mix. Would it not be nice to land on an Old Media site and be able to experience it in the same way that one might experience the print media?
I can’t count how many times I have landed on a newspaper site and been floored by the amount of junk that is on the screen. Goofy widgets, terrible animations, and confusing structure are at the top of the list. I expect to see ads, which I do, but they are also horribly presented.
What if our own RTD built a site that was virtually identical to the print version in layout and design, but with a few enhancements…like color? I think I would actually use a site like that. My co-workers often read the paper at lunchtime. I often am curious about what’s in the daily news, but don’t want to deal with a paper and don’t feel like using the RTD site. So I get no news from the RTD.
I am certain that Old Media outlets are trying to follow the competition and do what everyone else is doing when it comes to building a web presence, but the web is fairly new and "they" don’t have it all figured out just yet. I imagine that the biggest resistance would come from the loss in print revenue. I don’t have any numbers to crunch, but I imagine that the material, print, and delivery costs don’t allow for much profit on the subscription price. I would guess that the profit comes from the ads and classifieds.
I think a daily local news source is Very important to the community and know that print media stands to benefit from offering more than one outlet for it’s content. Making a move to a very accessible online "paper" would be seen as risky and maybe even suicide in the Old Media world, but I believe Old Media would do much better in the long run if they are the ones to define the next step in local news delivery.