At long last, Media General has launched a new Daily Progress website. Their site, first launched in January of 1997, has been unaltered since its creation. It used to be that they would delete their stories every night around 1am, replacing them with the stories from the new day’s issue. This approach meant that linking to stories was impossible, as the links would expire within 24 hours. This is a phenomenon known as “linkrot,” and makes it difficult for sites to ever really be integrated with the rest of the web. (cvillenews.com, for example, has been unable to link to Progress stories.) The newly-redesigned site appears to permanently archive all site stories, in addition to containing more than the five stories that the old website was limited to. Congratulations to the Daily Progress for joining the ranks of The Cavalier Daily, The Hook and WINA in having a useful website.
12 thoughts on “New Daily Progress Site Launches”
The newly-redesigned site appears to permanently archive all site stories,
Not so fast, dude. I think they expire after 45 days or something.
Of course, the directory name for the archive is actually misspelled as “archvie”.
Mmmm… smell that quality control.
85% of this story is about the SAT re-centering. That happened YEARS ago! Stop reading old washingtonpost.com stories, Kate, and do some work!
Which explains why their archive at http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/archvie/ is empty. So, on a whim, I went to http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/archive/. That gives a big directory listing of files, most of which adhere to the weird naming standard that they use (ie, MGBY03JID2D.html), and all of which are test stories, which surely are the result of the ongoing work in finishing up this new site.
But I did particularly like this story, entitled “Mary Alica Blackwell Rules!!!: She’s cool too!” :)
a few things that the dailyprogress.com site does right imo (and a few things the hook should take note of):
1) the “table of contents”/navigation is on the left side where most folks are used to looking for it.
1a) within the toc/nav, the dp site utilizes section headers and groups the corresponding content under them, whereas the hook names the section the content belongs to in the link to that content. even in the event of a section with a single content element, it’s still cleaner to use section headers (and it’s easily scaled if another piece of content for that section is created). try browsing the hook’s story archive to get the full impact of this problem.
2) dp.com uses the main content column to tease their own stories (novel concept). don’t get me wrong, i like that the hook links to this site and to the ny times and i think those links are valuable, especially this site with its local flavor, but it’d be nice if the hook content itself got some front and center billing.
3) the dp.com site makes better use of vertical space. the toc/nav is nice and high and there are 2 top stories nice and high. with the hook you have to get past quite a bit of vertical real estate before getting to the toc/nav and some news headlines (which are from this site and are not hook content). gets much worse on 800×600 (but luckily no one uses that resolution anymore anyway right?),
imo, if that silly module on the right side of the dp.com site didn’t look like such a ridiculously placed after thought, they’d have a pretty good site. my advice would be to clean up that module a bit and then use the rest of that column for ad space (with all ads conforming to a consistent size spec and animated ads available at an upcharge).
Holy moly, Hell hath frozen over! The C-Ville could be right behind! After that I predict a race to get webcams installed on all of their sites. ; )
Just as a side note – check out NBC29’s site. Their lead story is the Election results. Also, the world news has been the same for about five months. Why don’t they just take down their site?
Before we spread the congratulations around, we should think about what “useful website” means. C-Ville Weekly’s site, I’m guessing, has taken thousands of orders for classified and personal ads, dispensed a lot of contact info, and has never lost money (b/c nothing much was ever invested in it). There is hardly a media outlet out there that has shown that posting a lot of free updated content is a good *business* idea (It’s good for desk-bound readers, I realize).
does not offer a secure place to enter your credit card number (it claims it’s got “verified SSL”, but check your browser bar — no little padlock). They’re asking for trouble with that one when somebody who doesn’t know better gets their card info stolen from the site. Not to mention you can’t even see the ad order section if you’re using Netscape.
Posting free and updated content builds a lot of loyalty and buys leverage with advertisers on the site. Whethere it’s a good idea is a cost-benefit thing, like everything else in business.
you’re “guessing” or you know?
There is hardly a media outlet out there that has shown that posting a lot of free updated content is a good *business* idea
Of course, putting out a lot of free newspapers seems, at first blush, like a silly idea. But we’ve got a few ’em in town, so that seems to be working out.
That said, I understand what you’re saying: where’s the logic in running a website if your core competency is in running a newspaper? We’re at a point in the evolution of media and the Internet that this is still something that is optional. I don’t think that will be the case for more than another 5 years or so, but this currently-prevailing logic remains relatively sound.
Posting a lot of free updated content has in fact proven to be an excellent business model for a small number of innovative businesses rendering fairly unique or pioneering services. Mapquest comes to mind; the owners put up good content, operated on VC for a few years, and then sold the business to AOL, this executing their business plan perfectly. Hotmail did the same thing and sold to MSN. Google, so far, has resisted selling; perhaps the right price has not yet been offered.
Been there, did that.
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