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Friday, September 25, 1998 Yesterday, it was announced that St. Louis' alternative weekly paper, The Riverfront Times, will be sold to New Times, which owns several cities' alternative weekly papers. Ray Hartmann will continue to write his weekly editorials, but his other duties will be diminished.
I first heard about this on KSDK's nightly news, then turned to the 'net for more information.
Imagine my surprise when:
- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch site had nothing on the sale.
- The RFT site said nothing about the sale.
- New Times' site said nothing about the sale.
- and at the moment, KSDK's own site is under construction.
So much for online news keeping pace with other media...
Where to try next?
Why not one of the wire services? Surely one carries local news for certain areas, right?
So, I go to the Associated Press' site. No luck. At this point it's past the point of being worth the effort to me, so I give up.
This morning the Post-Dispatch did finally report on it.
As ever, I'm just full of assorted questions & observations about the experience:
- Why is the Associated Press' site, http://www.ap.org/, in the .org top-level domain? Are they really a non-profit organization??
- Yes, http://www.ap.com/ is taken by someone else, but why haven't they at least picked up http://www.associatedpress.com/ as an alias to their real site or something? I tried that second (after www.ap.com) but eventually had to resort to Yahoo. I never expected it to be in .org.
- Why in the world does the AP's front page (see above) need frames? I clicked on the photo to get 'a complete caption' and it replaced the right frame with a two-sentence caption about the photo. What, this wouldn't have fit on the screen if they weren't using frames? I'd much prefer seeing a photo's full caption by default rather than have to click something to get it. Am I unusual in that respect?
- The Post-Dispatch acted like a newspaper; they didn't have a story published until the next day.
Thing is, they are a newspaper, so that's OK. My expectations have just been distorted by fine examples of Web-timely papers like the San Jose Mercury News.
- If there's a major event involving one's organization (presumably involving press releases), why doesn't one announce it on one's site so that the world can get 'the story' pre-chewed for them, as it were? I'm confident both the RFT and New Times *will* say something on their respective sites about the deal, but if the Net were being treated as a primary means of delivering information, the news would have been on their sites by last night.
Despite some very visible uses of the Net to disseminate primary material (say, the Starr Report), it's really not there yet.
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