Thursday, July 05, 2007

Stupid News

What's with news outlets not getting with the technological big picture? I went over to the Washington Post homepage today to look for that 20,000-word series on how evil Dick Cheney is. (Answer: Very Fucking Evil.) I used the WP's internal search and typed "dick cheney angler." (Angler is his Secret Service codename and the title of the series.) Surprise surprise, the series, which is probably the biggest and most important thing the Post will do all year, didn't show up in the first ten results. You get a lot of related blog posts, interview transcripts, and sidebars, but not the piece itself. I eventually went to Google and typed in the same thing. The first result was the one I was looking for.

I've complained, in private and on this blog, about the awfulness of Newsweek's website. News outlets everywhere are purposefully, almost willfully losing readers and site hits by employing sloppy user interface. How hard is it to get search, that most basic of web features, right?

Related: Check out this amazing video from the TED conference, which demonstrates new image management software. This is how we'll be reading newspapers online very soon, I predict. It'll probably take over interface in general. Couple that with iPhone touchscreen technology, and soon we'll have whole walls that are touch-sensitive computer screens. Rad!

Finally, my new time-waster at work is reading future obits. It's common practice in journalism to write obits ahead of time for notables that are likely to croak soon. We've already got ones in the system for Osama bin Laden and Fidel Castro. The one about Fidel is particularly interesting, since the writer goes so far as to predict the medium of announcement ("...we heard this morning from the state-run news service...").

1 comment:

janice said...

writing code for search is a lot harder than you think. however, newsweek should put more $ towards it. obits sound fun. i think we should have a end of 2007 list.