December 30, 2005
Online News Just Got Interesting
he New York Times is a pathetic, partisan, demagogue mouthpiece that daily gives journalism a bad name, but they’re about to get a leg up on the competition in the online news arena. They’re recently hired a real designer to head up their online news website department. Khoi Vinh is the new Design Director for NYT on the web.
What this likely means is that all other newspaper websites should be quaking in their boots, as they are about to be left eating the Times’ dust. There’s no way to say for sure, but I expect that with Khoi at the helm the NYT website will eventually see vast improvements in design, layout, legibility and usability. So, at long last, a heavyweight newspaper will have a news website that presents content in a manner such that it can be easily and comfortably consumed by interested readers. Ad revenues will also likely soar.
As I wrote back in May 2005, there is no large news organization that has even a C grade website. Except for a couple of notable exceptions from lesser news outlets, online news is typically presented in a manner that represents the worst that the Web has to offer.
In my article I detailed the most glaring gaffs that these websites make and suggested a few remedies. I also noted that with such a widespread and consistent lack of quality, it leaves an enormous opportunity for one of these organizations to capitalize on – as there is great advantage in being first to do things right (or even sort of right).
It makes me sad to see that it is The New York Times that will be beating all others to the punch, as I rather despise this publication. But there can be no denying that given its (ill-deserved) reputation as the “newspaper of record” and its new found interest in presenting well-designed news online, it will likely stand head and shoulders above all others.
Surely some solace can come from the fact that such a conspicuous example will get the attention of other publishers. Perhaps because of this bold move other online publications will begin to recognize just how badly they’re doing their job and decide to play catch-up. I sincerely hope so, as surely do millions of other online news consumers.