Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Yesterday's Gone

This article over at The Urbanophile about Kodak & Detroit inspired me to write this about the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Now that the Fishwarp has decided to charge for reading their stuff online, the website has ceased being a perk & has become a product. While their investment in the site has always been a business operation, this really changes things. Just putting the paper paper online is pointless. If they don't embrace the new media format it would be like going into television & panning a camera up & down the pages or going into radio & just reading the articles like a service for the blind.
While the newspaper prints "all the news that fits", it's constraint is available pages. In broadcast media, what fits is constrained by time. A good example of using the web to transcend those constraints is WLWT's posting the entire streetcar dedication ceremony online - something they could never do on live TV. The Fishwarp has added cheesy "galleries" of photos but they are usually pretty lame. They have a commenting system that's flawed but their attitude towards it is still stuck in the ancient newspaper mindset. The intertubes facilitate dialogue but the Fiswarpers just toss stuff out like bird seed. In the article where Ms Washburn "explains" the electronic subscription model, she generated over 100 comments. Some of them justly asked for clarification but in old newspaper mode, the Fishwarp published & then washed their hands & went home.
The Fishwarp needs to forget about posting charts, maps & other graphics in low resolution gifs & jpgs & start using a vector format like svg that is more legible & can afford interaction for even more clarity.
Again, the site is not a newspaper, they need to ~shudder gasp~ use audio & video. They need to use links more effectively - they can keep the reader on their site by opening links in a frame if they want.
It's a new product - it's not business as usual.

1 comment:

5chw4r7z said...

I agree 100%, the Enquirer could leverage this into something completely new, dynamic and interactive.
Will they?