3/23/11

Hey Local Newspaper – You're Not Really Local Anymore…

I'm about to go on a rant about local newspapers that publish on the Internet, but don't give the "out-of-towner" reader any idea of where the newspaper is located. I'm going to pick on The Daily Journal, but they are by no means the first local newspaper that I've had to scour to find out where exactly they are located. So, here's a little back story.

I got a news feed alert on a story entitled "Freeholders concerned about closing library." So far, so good… I'm interested in any story that discusses how communities are looking at closing libraries to shore up shrinking budgets. When I arrive to the story, I see the name of the town, but not the state in which the town is located.


Alright… "Bridgeton" doesn't really sound familiar to me, so I start looking through the story to see if there's something in there that names the state. Nothing.
Next up… look at the banner for the website to see if it mentions a state. 


No state mentioned either in the banner, or in any of the other links at the top of the page. And with a generic name like "The Daily Journal.com - A Gannett Company" this paper could be anywhere.
So, nothing in the by-line… nothing in the banner… nothing in the top links.
How about looking at the ads? Maybe there will be an ad for a local company that will mention the state??


Hallelujah!! It's Georgia!!!
No!! It's not Georgia. Seems that the ads are set up to look at my IP address and identify that I'm coming in from a Georgia IP address. Two problems with this:
  1. I'm not in Georgia… my firm is… I'm in sunny Houston, Texas!!
  2. The fact that the newspaper has ads that adjust for "out-of-towners" lets me know that they understand that people from outside the community are going to drop in, but that they don't really care to make it clear where they've landed.
So now I'm getting a little ticked-off…
I look at the "Help" and "Terms of Service" pages… no luck.
Holy crap!! How freakin' hard does this have to be??

New Jersey!!
Finally… finally… finally, I see an image near the bottom of the original page that tells me I've landed in New Jersey (by this time I'm saying "New Jersey" like the Fred Armisen impersonation of New York Governor, David Patterson.)

From start to finish, it probably took me three or four minutes to track down where this newspaper is covering. Granted, not a lot of time, but completely unnecessary. 
This was my drawn out way of asking that local newspapers that publish out the Internet to realize that you're now a global operation. Please make it easier on those of us that aren't locals by making it obvious where you're located. It will result in at least one less frustrated librarian in the world.


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8 comments:

Jim Milles said...

I KNOW!!!! I hate it when newspaper sites do this.

Ryan McClead said...

That's FORMER New York Governor Fred Armisen.. I mean David Patterson.

Lisa Salazar said...

It took me that long to read your rant ;)

Greg Lambert said...

Lisa,

Now you feel my pain!! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I completely support your rant, Greg. I've often looked at articles and tried to figure out where the paper was located, then given up. Would it really hurt to have the city, state, country listed in the banner?

Anonymous said...

Personally, I thought the term "Freeholder" was a dead giveaway that this was a New Jersey story. I don't live there, but I know that is the term for NJ county legislators. If you scrolled to the bottom of the main page of The Daily Journal, there's a "contact us" link which lists a Vineland, NJ address. Or, if all else fails, if you type "Bridgeton library" news.google.com, you can easily see other stories about that same topic. I love your blog, but I think there are bigger rants to have than highlighting a local newspaper's online shortcomings :-)

Greg Lambert said...

You'll find that we don't rant a lot here on 3 Geeks… but when we do, it is usually about petty things like this! ;-)

Erin said...

Like "Anonymous" said, I usually go to the Contact Us page. And if they don't have an address, sometimes they'll have a phone number and I just Google the area code.

 

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