November 7, 2008 Archives
Not surprisingly, the Web serves the first function of a local paper exceptionally well. They deliver information instantly, and articles can be updated and corrected in real time. What is surprising, though, is the unfortunate and neglected condition of most student papers' Web sites. The average site has a clunky layout, sloppy design and little-to-no attention to color schemes or aesthetics. Many sites are a muddled array of hyperlinks, with uncategorized articles strewn every which way. Graphics are poorly sized. Fonts are dull. Multimedia is ignored.
All of these flaws are shocking when one realizes that Generation Y, the most tech-savvy ever born, maintains and codes these sites. Yet their designs are, excuse my snarkiness, very 1990s. But worse than my aesthetic objections is my philosophical gripe: Most student papers' online content essentially mirrors the print content. They are updated daily or weekly, only in conjunction with the print paper. Such an organization suggests a clear prioritizing of the physical newspaper -- a mistake that the professional news media, by and large, began to correct a decade ago. --(Brian Farkas, Inside Higher Ed)