Despite my desire to be different and carefree, I'm a creature of habit. One of my routines is my morning web reading schedule. I have a specific Firefox bookmark labeled "morning" which opens up all the sites with which I start my day. I check sports, my fantasy baseball stats, my RSS feeds, and finally the local paper— the Enquirer.
Although I've had my issues with it in the past, I've really started to enjoy reading that paper. As a minister in the city, I feel it's my responsibility to know what's going on here. The Enquirer is the best local source of finding this information out. So I make sure to read it daily [online, of course] to see what's happening.
Unfortunately, the parent company of the Enquirer decided to force redesigns of all their papers' websites. There's a brand new website up and it is absolutely horrible. And it's not just opinion— see for yourself. Now the old Enquirer page was not attractive at all, but it was highly functional; I could maneuver the pages within minutes to get the info I was looking for. The new site, however, is a mess, with actual articles mixed in with readers' blogs and forums. And this site is even uglier than the last. I tried last night to devise an organized way to get through the site, and was frustrated that I couldn't. I told myself I would try again one more time this morning. And all I got was frustration.
Some might say that the ease of which I could maneuver the site made it necessary for the redesign. As papers continue to lose money in daily circulation they are reliant on web advertising. And if a reader can get in and out without having to peruse the ads, then it defeats the purpose of posting the content online in the first place. I would counter that many other papers have succeeded in offering all of their content online, getting advertisers to commit, and keeping their websites easy to use. Check out papers like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, who put all of their content online and yet have workable websites. Instead of keeping it clean, organized and simple, the Enquirer is now unreadable.
So now I'm considering options. Fortunately, I subscribe to quite a few local blogs that display local news stories, so I'm not left out in the cold. And there's a Google News option for local news that I might have to take advantage of. Regardless, unless the Enquirer can get things cleaned up and presentable, I might not read it that much anymore.