I studied Mankato Free Press to see how much they’re online friendly. What I see is that most of its articles are shovelware. It has many articles that I believe same as the ones they had on its printed editions. I could find few videos that supplement details but they were just Associated Press videos that the Free Press simply linked. The only multi-media that the Free Press actually provided were pictures that come along with stories. I think the pictures wouldn’t have been available in its printed version because those articles had multiple pictures. Since Internet environment provides unlimited space to use, it was one thing the Free Press could utilize.

Another good thing was that they had a list of main articles(about current issues) below any of their story so that the readers could skim and see what’s going on, in every page. Because when readers read the actual ‘paper’ they have to see different pages just to see what the topics are, I think it’s ‘something’ even though every other newspaper does the same thing.

They also had places to comment on each story and RSS so that its users can easily share the news with other people. Other than that I don’t think they had their multimedia options utilized.

However, I thought it has a long way to go to make it a better Website for the readers, I think the newspaper should try putting more videos. Web readers do not expect their newspaper to provide them with high definition videos. In other words, they would be more satisfied by simply watching a short video taken by a flipcam because it might contain only some minor information but it would bring more credibility and vivid and lively impression.

Non-linearity is one of the best merits that Web environment has. People can see and read things in order that they prefer, such as looking for picture at first and read the story later or getting related information through carefully designed news pool. In spite of non-linearity of Web environment, the readers need some guidance or help to explore its news pool in effective way.

I was a bit disappointed by that sense because the Free Press didn’t have a place to list the related news together. When I read about the Mankato West High School’s football team news, I’m very much likely to look for the past ones. But they didn’t have any link in the page. I think they can simply insert a couple of key words like “West High School/ football” in its article and make them suggested to the readers.

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Categories: General Posting
  1. Cheryl
    September 21, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    Good suggestion on adding links on the Free Press site–it would be an improvement. They have many awards for their photography, but you are right to point out the need for good videos for today’s readers.

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