Thursday, March 19, 2009

Seattle P-I

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper quit publication this last Tuesday (3/17/09), timely huh? Well, they're now an entirely on-line paper at So, what do I think of it? Like my opinion is going to matter beyond this post?

Well, for starters, there's nothing new or innovative about it, and it's trying to reach everyone at the front page. That's a big mistake, and likely the worst mistake of a new on-line Website. It only drives people away with all the clutter and noise. It's simply too much in too small a space.

For another, it's overkill. It has no clear focus or plan other than the first criticism, simply splashing lot of news on the home page and hope something attracts your attention to stay awhile. It won't because it's too much, it looks like all the other newspaper Websites, most of which are like that. And so it's simply a lot of reposted news stories.

They need a vision about who they are and what they want to present. They need a clean, clear Home page. Right now it looks like the computer geeks designed, it's the, "Let's see how much news we can squeeze into one Web page." concept. It doesn't work and the ad space is overkill and distracting.

They need to make it like the print where you can open pages, or not, scroll through pages, scan headlines, and so on. They don't need to replicate the print edition, but they need the features and functions. They forget many readers are old-time print readers, not the younger generations readers who don't mind all the clutter and noise, and will search for what they want.

We read papers from start to finish. We'll read on-line news Websites we can decipher the structure and organization to scan and read, but don't make us wade through a lot of news crap and ads to get there. We also read the P-I for what the paper was and says and for what it covered about Seattle and western Washington. We didn't read it to hear the crowd.

Right now, the P-I Website is simply another commercial news service, like Google, Yahoo, MSN, etal. As as they have shown, you don't make money on the Internet being a copy of someone else. You need to have a dedicated audience and customer base to start. You had that with the print edition. Then you expand into other areas wihtout betraying your history and loyal readers.

But you didn't do that, did you? And now you have your Website. I wish you luck, but will I come back? Right now. No way in the world when the other news Websites are better designed with the same news. The only thing I like right now is the Thursday Getaway section. Everything else is just more of the same I've read elsewhere. And simply wasting my time.

I wish the P-I well. But until they get something unique to themselves and for their readers, I don't see it. The die-hard new Web junkies will love it, that's not why I read the P-I then and won't now. As they said, the announcement of your death was a litttle premature, it's in your future as the Web version slowly dies too, as the old reader simply mouse click somewhere else.

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