Monday, February 04, 2008

How newspapers annoy readers

Robert Niles' column in the Online Journalism Review, Readers owe nothing to publishers, really hits the nail on the head:
Whenever I open our door on Sunday mornings, I never see the Los Angeles Times flag staring up at me from the porch. Instead, I see a two-pound advertising circular that, I know only from experience, contains the LA Times buried somewhere within. Yesterday's paper came wrapped in a plastic bag hawking some consumer product. After pulling the paper out from that, I had to peel away an advertising and a feature section before I could see the "front" page.
...Here's what normal people do when they can't find the content they paid for in their newspaper: They cancel. As they have been, in droves, over the past generation.
And it's not just the printed version that annoys, says Niles: animated widgets blocking the screen and email spams to those they force to register turn us off from newspapers' web sites, too.

Amen. The past few days, going to, I've had to watch an animated flamenco dancer block my view of stories I want to read; when I close her I get a huge banner advertising a show at the performing arts center, bigger and brighter and blocking the entire page. I could take it once. But it loads EVERY time.

I'm lucky these days, living too far out for home delivery of newspapers. I can get a daily paper, but only by mail. So when the Sunday paper comes on Monday (when I'm lucky) it isn't loaded with the inserts that I would just have to throw away. We do go out and buy another Sunday paper from the next-nearest city, but luckily they are smaller cities and the papers' insert burdens aren't so egregious as they would be in a big city.

I know papers need every source of income they can get but there is a limit. Even those 'post-it' ads we used to get on the front of the Herald can be an annoyance to someone who just wants the news.

(Updated:) More on this topic from Jennifer Mazerado at MediaShift: Why I Left Print Media for Digital.



Post a Comment

<< Home