This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 26, 2003 1:21 AM. The previous post in this blog was Now it can be heard. The next post in this blog is Brushes with greatness. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003

You know who has a crummy website?

The Oregonian. Here I am trying to find a story that I read in hard copy on Saturday. Wasting all sorts of time trying to find it. There's supposedly a 14-day search tool, but it's worthless.

And forget about "sidebars" and photos. The cheapies at The O (or more likely, its parent company, the Newhouse newspaper chain) won't spring for them.

Then every night all the current stories are taken down, and there's nothing on the "current day" page until mid-to-late morning.

Yuck! Is it just me, or does this thing bite?

Comments (9)

It's not just you. It's completely appalling. I try to use it to remind myself of things going on in Portland, and I can't. It's horrific.

Not only is it not just you, but according to someone at the paper who posted a comment to my site recently, the people in the newsroom hate it even more than the rest of us do. The package which Advance Internet provides for various newspaper sites has been crap for years, and they only manage, over time, to make it worse.

The fact is that the people at the Oregonian hate their site as well. Oregonlive.com and the Oregonian are seperate organizations that "Partner" together (similar to what mlive.com and several michigan papers do). It's all developed by the folks at Advance.net. But ask any reporter at the Oregonian, and they're not really fond of Oregonlive.com, either.

It sucks, but the Oregonian is not going to bother changing things. Why? Because it works for them -- nevermind if it doesn't work for us.

The Statesman Journal has got it a little better, making NEWS the focus, not ads (they used to be the other way around -- they didn't even have news online until I interned there when I was in college).

Hell, even the Guard in Eugene is better than Oregonlive.com, and it's nothing to get excited about.

OK, done ranting.

Online Newspaper Geek :-)

I'm sure that the management of the Big O one, do not want to spend any money, and two, are deathly afraid of losing subscribership of the paper version to the internet. So it makes complete sense that the Big O supports a product, cheaply, that is completely inferior to its home-delivered, machine-or-store dispensed hard copy.

I don't think it makes sense at all. All that does is make them look like an incompetent organization that still gets all its information from the Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature, doesn't mind if the clock on the newsroom VCR calls it noon all day long, and thinks the Internet is something you use to catch espionage-committing butterflies. They're not going to save their print edition by making their online content ugly and disorganized. All that will do is cause people to read news elsewhere. If they wanted to make their content inaccessible and hope that people would pay for it, that would be one thing. (Not likely, in my opinion.) But the disorganization, ugliness, and overall cheap-ass quality of the site just makes them look like hacks. I find it hard to believe that looking like hacks is a well-thought-out business decision.

My two cents:

Just got back from vacation. Went to three different states (CA, AZ, NM), each with varying amounts of news to cover and sources to cover it. Every paper I picked up (hard copy) kicked the crap out of the Oregonian. You know you're local paper sucks when Santa Fe, New Mexico has better writing and editing, as well as less space devoted to advertising. Even if the The O didn't do the generic-online-newspaper thing, I'm pretty sure its site would suck just as bad as the Oregonlive.com site does. The Oregonlive.com *does* make them look like hacks, but the hard copy version makes them look just as bad.


None of the papers, not even the SF Chronicle or LA Times, cost as much as the Oregonian, either.

Uh, I've been outta town for about three years -- you mean the Oregonian doesn't cost 35 cents anymore?

Interesting enough, you may have noticed that the Oregonian.com (or whatever it is, with bookmarks I forget URLs) is actually hosted (i.e. their servers reside) on the East Coast.
When the black out occured, if you tryed going to the Big-O you got sent to www.nj.com and a mesage that nj.com and a list of other sites (which included the O) where out of comission due to the black out.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, the only smart thing about the blackout outage was that the guy who heads Advance had staff toss content from the newspapers they were supposed to be serving into weblogs (like this one), so that the news wasn't offline altogether.

As pointed out in various places, however, this would be unnecessary if Advance (or the newspapers it serves) had bothered to consider the possibility of needing a secondary backup system somewhere.

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