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WaPo Digital Publishing Guidelines


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I applaud the Washington Post for their new digital publishing guidelines. An excerpt:


Published: Sept. 1, 2011

E-mail alerts, social-media postings, and other digital news reports based on non-Post reporting should clearly attribute the information to its specific source. Consideration should also be given to whether some qualification of the information should be included—for example, a notation that the report could not be independently verified, or that we are in the process of attempting to verify the information.

Articles and blog postings

Attribution in articles and blog postings should be done through linking and text, if possible. Simply adding a link is not acceptable attribution. The site that is linked should be spelled out. Also, if the source is not a well-known media outlet, give a brief description in the attribution language. When linking is not possible, attribution alone is acceptable.

EXAMPLE: “The arrests were first reported in a Dallas Morning News article on March 1.”

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Digital Guidelines or not, does anyone besides me feel adrift when they visit washingtonpost.com these days? The format has gotten so progressively unfriendly, that I don't even want to go there anymore. And it's not the content; it's the format.

I've been visiting washingtonpost.com for longer than donrockwell.com ever existed, and even to this day I click over there on a regular basis; I'm just finding my "bounce rate" is a lot higher than it used to be, unfortunately. Where is my newspaper?!

Does anyone have any favorite sources of national or world news they turn towards?

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I agree, the Post website is awful. (Much of the content is awful, too, but that's a different question.)

Compare to the NYT site. The main page of NYT contains headlines and/or blurbs of a huge number of stories, well organized, many of which are enticing enough on a given day to click and read at least the first paragraph. The Post website, by contrast, leaves me wondering whether there are actually any articles in the paper.

Somebody posted in another thread, here the other day, that the NYT food section has become boring and the Post's is better. But even on Wednesday, it is hard to find a clear link to the Food Section on the Post's main page, much less a series of enticing headlines or blurbs from it.

Maybe the experts at the Post believe (and maybe they are right) that pictures are more enticing to the average web viewer than text is, I don't know. But to me it is the website of an information-free zone.

Also, it crashes my browser on my iPad at least half the time.


The Guardian has a new web front page that's making a play for US viewers, maybe that's worth a try. I don't know enough about the Guardian to know whether it's likely to be great or not. Guardian

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