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The Beacon’s missed opportunity

I cringed when I clicked on the graphic packaged with Jim Carney’s Frigid weather to grip region story on Ohio.com.

Now, as I’ve stated before, I love the Beacon Journal. It was the paper I grew up reading, and consequently, it’s the yardstick to which I hold all other papers. And perhaps that’s why I hold it to a higher standard, which in turn is why that graphic disappointed me.

I know they are trying. They have embraced video and SoundSlides. (The quinceanera ones in particular impressed me as an excellent example of what SoundSlides should be.) Their Akron’s War Dead project, while maybe not the least confusing design, succeeds in humanizing the statistics. And they even came, editors and reporters alike, to Kent State for some on-camera training last semester. They are moving forward.

But the graphic only serves as a reminder of how far there is to go.

It’s not that it was poorly designed. It wasn’t. The information was supplementary to the main story as it should be.

What bothered me was the clear and utter disregard for the medium in which it was presented. They literally exported the same graphic from the paper and pasted it up on the Web. How do I know? First, it isn’t integrated as a photo might be or as a graphic should. It came up on its own page, just a .gif with no context or links (requiring me to hit back if I wanted to return to the story/site). It had about five points in one single image; many of the points are text heavy and should have been presented in, well, text on the site. And the kicker, it still has refers to page E1 and B3.

2 Responses to “The Beacon’s missed opportunity”

  1. Melissa Worden Says:

    Meranda — I share your frustration. I wrote about this same topic a couple of days ago. There are so many missed opportunities. It’s a piece of the interactive storytelling too many newspapers are overlooking because they don’t have the resources. It’s a shame, too, because these graphics can generate a lot of page views.

  2. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » A step in the right direction at Ohio.com Says:

    […] I’ve discussed some of the practices that annoy me on every site, but especially Ohio.com because I frequent it. […]