Do Newspapers Get The (Mobile) Web?

by @edent | # # # # # #

I've written before about how newspapers are reacting to the changing media landscape.

Every so often, I spy something that reminds me just how far they need to go in order to fully "get" the web.

This latest example is from the Financial Times. I have huge admiration for the FT. Their reporting is usually spot on, their website is mostly excellent and their mobile site is very credible. But take a look at the bottom of this story.

See Page 2

See Page 2

Those words "Network Envy, Page 2 - BT Under Pressure, Page 16" aren't hyperlinks. They are just scraps of text telling me to turn to a separate page in my paper to read the story.

This tells us several interesting things about the FT.

  • Their web and mobile content comes from the same back-end as their print content.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but...
  • Their back end system has no understanding of the web (or the writer for this particular story doesn't understand it)
  • There is no specific editor for the (mobile) web edition of the paper.  Allowing mistakes like this slip through shows a disregard for your readership.
  • The mindset of the writers and editors aren't focused on the web.  This may be the tools they have at their disposal or it may be their training.  One thing is for certain - this is a print story which has been thrown with very little consideration on to a different medium.

Think what they could be doing.  The first mention of a company could be linked to all the news stories they have.  Given this is the FT, why not stick a live stock price after every company's name?  When a CEO is mentioned - link to their profile.

The power of hypertext is that it is so much better than regular text.  Not only more expressive, but more useful.  It can be dynamically generated and updated.  It can grant the joy of serendipidous discoveries to your readers.

Ignore the hype about blogs, comments, sharing, and twittering - it's links which make the difference.  Links are what drive the web and make it better than newsprint.  They connect your content - making it greater than the sum of its pieces.

It's your content - but better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.