Sunday, March 14, 2010

looking for news? keep on looking.

starting today, the indianapolis star is crippling its web site. the new policy: front-page stories will be embargoed from the web site for 48 hours, as will the columnists. that's right: if you go to, you won't be shown the news that the star deems most important. (this week, it's yet another story about hazing at carmel high school and yet another tully column about manual high school. yay, high school!)

if you've been paying attention to the star in the past few years, you'll know that the print edition has been getting progressively crappier, with a shrinking trim size and shorter page count (the only thing that's gotten bigger is the font size). in contrast, the star has routinely been putting "extra" content online that wouldn't fit in between the ads on the print edition.

so why would anyone want to subscribe? apparently this is a question the management has been struggling with for a while, and the answer they came up with is that readers should be forced to subscribe (to the print edition!) if they want timely content.

in the age of blogs and the 24-hour news cycle, this is absurd. people want fast, easy access to the news. they want to be able to share news articles with their friends. and yes, they want to be able to leave offensive racist, sexist, and homophobic comments on stories about how minorities are ruining america, liberals are idiotic scum, and so forth. they can do those things easily with a web site. not so much with a printed newspaper that comes to their door only once a day.

someone in management decided that subscription revenue was more important than web traffic or online revenue. i can appreciate their conundrum—newspaper revenues are dropping and the parent company demands unreasonable profits. but i'll be shocked if this results in a significant increase in subscribers. i sure as hell won't be subscribing.

so the hunt is on: we need better online sources for local news! i'll admit; i've been lazy when it comes to finding other feeds to follow. not anymore!

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