Sunday, February 03, 2013

Where in the world is the Press Democrat

I am exhausted from an all-weekend training seminar and therefore not in a civil mood toward anyone and shouldn't be posting at all so maybe you should just delete this before reading it as a kindness to me.

In this McLuhanesque Global Village Virtual World Age of the Internet, there seems to be a presumption that no one cares where you are in the physical world. I cannot begin to tell you how many links I have followed to newspaper websites to learn about someone's local story (posted on Facebook, posted to a mailing list, posted wherever)—good news, funny news, sad news, or bad news—only to be left scratching my head because the newspaper can't be bothered with datelines or with any indication on the news page of where the paper is published.

In today's episode, I followed a link from a mailing list post and then had to click twice more to find the About page, where I learned that the Press Democrat is published in Santa Rosa, in Sonoma County. Now it happens that I know enough geography to know that Sonoma County is in California, so I didn't have to read all the way to the end of the paragraph. But it would be so much simpler if the city where a paper is published were part of the header or footer of every page, as it is on a print edition.

I know I cannot influence managers of newspaper websites to change their practices, but maybe by whining here I can influence you, when you post to a forum or a mailing list, to put at least the city and state where they live in your signature lines, to clue people in to where you are in the world.