Monday, March 26, 2012 hates news. So what?

A blaring headline on Romenesko today: " doesn't much like news."

So what?

The problem is not that has a penchant for Naked Bike Ride photo galleries or sports coverage. The real issue is that is trying to serve three audiences with one site. is one of three brands offered by its parent company, but each has been mismanaged online. The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News websites have been scuttled in favor of a locked-down online experience, so most Delaware Valley readers expect to have their daily news.

And it does. But it's conflicting at every turn.

A reader wants the slideshow of historic Philadelphia photos, but hates the crime coverage.

A Philadelphia Inquirer reader wants the Inga Saffron or Craig LaBan column, but not the effusive Eagles coverage.

A Philadelphia Daily News reader wants Phillies spring training coverage, but could do without the suburban home prices feature.

But each reader goes to the same place: Each reader hates what he or she sees.

This is's real problem. It's not what it does or doesn't cover; it's brand mismanagement.

Five steps to a better

1.) Give the Inquirer its own grand, fusty website. If you want things behind a wall, put them there. See: WSJ.

2.) Give the Daily News its own vibrant website. Again, if you want things behind a wall, put them there.

3.) Let develop its own content as a standalone property, and stop relying so much on Inquirer and Daily News coverage. It should be at least 60-40, not 10-90. And based on its history, it should embrace things like "Philly's Hottest Chefs."

4.) Let subscribers pay for what they want. I want to read the Inquirer, I don't care about the latter two, and I don't want a paper copy. What's my option? Currently, awful PDF-like reading. It's like the company built a moat and flooded the castle in the process. (In turn, I read the New York Times. In Philadelphia.)

5.) Allow marketing to separate the three. To use a typographical metaphor, the Inquirer is Baskerville, Daily News is Impact and is Helvetica Neue. Allow them to appeal to their particular demographics, and stop mixing the message.


Gar Joseph, city editor, Phila. Daily News said...

As someone who suggested 10 years ago that the papers maintain separate web sites behind pay walls, I enthusiastically endorse your recommendations.

Jonathan Valania said...

In the immortal words of Ed McMahon: You are correct, sir!