Why do newspapers hide their own newsrooms’ content online?
Here in San Francisco both of the mainstream papers in town, the San Francisco Examiner and the San Francisco Chronicle, have redesigned their main Web sites to make it that much harder to find and just read the actual news stories in each day’s editions of the papers.
In fact, if you want to read their staff’s articles from the paper online – and bypass (or ignore) the blogs, reader polls and community “journalists'” musings that litter the Web sites – you have to log on to secret counter Web sites that carry just the news and only the news.
Take the Chronicle. Its widely acclaimed and read site SFGate.com used to have an easy to find and click on icon at the top of the page to take you directly to the stories one would find in the printed version of that day’s paper.
For some reason that click through option exists no more.
And the first page of the site, while profiling some stories and breaking news (often times from other papers or Web sites even), now carries a Twitter feed with tweets from various newspapers and online sites, postings from its new City Brights collection of local celebrities, staff blogs, readers views and photos.
Eventually you scroll down to local and national news stories.
If you click on a news story or one of the headings in the top banner such as NEWS or SPORTS it takes you to a new page. Up in the left hand corner
you will notice a new icon for the San Francisco Chronicle, however, which takes you to a special site: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/
Here is an easy way to read that day’s paper, broken up by section.
The Examiner’s Web site is even worse when it comes to finding that paper’s staff contributions. The Web site http://www.examiner.com/san_francisco used to have a link to take you to the online version of that day’s paper.
For some reason the link disappeared recently. If you hit the link for “More News” on the main page, it takes you to a new page that lists stories from other papers as well as it own staff generated articles. Hit on one of those and you are taken to a different Web site: http://www.sfexaminer.com.
For those not in the know about these hidden Web sites, it seems like a lot of trouble to go through to find articles from the people who are paid to write them at these papers.