Monday, September 04, 2006

New Grand Forks Herald site almost here

The long-awaited debut of the new Grand Forks Herald website seems to be suddenly on our doorstep. Sunday's Herald reported that the changeover from the old Knight Ridder website should happen this coming Tuesday afternoon. The article says that the new site will offer more local control over content and overall look.

Good, the old site has been severely lacking for years and has paled in comparison to the Fargo Forum's website. I'm hoping that, since Forum Communications is the new owner of the Herald, they've put some of their people to work on building the new site.

One thing that makes me a little uneasy is the fact that the article states that the new Herald site will require readers to "register" before they're able to access content. That's similar to what the Fargo Forum has done for several years so I'm assuming that's why this is being implemented on the Herald's new site. I'm no big fan of requiring readers to offer up personal information before they're allowed to access your website's content. It seems like just an unnecessary hassle for people trying to read a story or two. Still, I guess it should be just a one-time thing for readers so hopefully it shouldn't be too big of an inconvenience.

I'm intrigued by the article's mention of new partnerships between the Herald and WDAZ. The story also states "There also will be staff weblogs and weblogs from people in the community in Area Voices." Interesting...can we expect other Herald writers to pick up the hobby of blogging? I hope so. I'm happy to see that the Herald doesn't seem to be scared of blogging...which is more than I can say for some other local media outlets.

Overall, I'm very excited to see the advent of a new Herald website. I think a new website, if designed and managed well, could be an excellent asset for the community and a tool for all citizens wanting to keep informed. I'm eagerly waiting for Tuesday afternoon.


Tu-Uyen said...

No need to reveal personal info. Just fake it if you feel like it. I'm usually pretty honest when I get free services, though.

GrandForksGuy said...

I guess the "hassle" bugs me more than anything. It won't bother those of use who look at the Herald's website daily to spend a minute registering the first time we go to the new site, but I think it will be an inconvenience for people outside of the community who just want to read one Herald story. There will be people who search for something in Google, come across a story in the Herald, go to the Herald website, see that they have to register before reading the story, and turn around and look elsewhere so they don't have to bother registering. Just my two cents.

JGS said...

Finally, it's indeed been a good long wait. I was getting a little sick of the current Herald website, as I tend to look there first when I get on the computer.

Can't wait for Tuesday Afternoon!

drunk said...

Ugh. News website registration walls really are annoying. No wonder so many people use fake information from It also makes it really hard to do stuff that the internet was designed for - share news & information. Stupid news sites. :P

JGS said...

Meh, I don't mind registering. Only takes 20 seconds to do. I'm sure it will just ask for a name, city, and email.

Wouldn't expect to ask for you address, phone number, age, etc.

Anonymous said...

Fargo Forum's website asks for e-mail, First/Last name, nickname, gender, birth year, zip code. I'm registered at several news sites with fake information. Quite frankly, I don't trust them near as much as I would a commerce site where I was buying something. Also, they don't know if I'm buying the paper or reading someone else's. Why should they know if I'm reading it online, except to give demographic information to advertisers.

Matthew K. Hartman said...

First off, registering for a news-site isn't that big of a deal. If you are so concerned with giving out personal e-mail addresses, create a "junk" address at Hotmail, Yahoo, MSN, or elsewhere, and register with the address. Other personal information? So as long as you don't give out credit card or social security #'s or mailing addresses, you shouldn't concern yourself. Believe it or not, you really have to make an effort to find information about other people. Especially, if you only have little information to work with.

Secondly, while I, myself, am an avid blogger, I'm not so sure why you have an incesant need for other media outlets to blog, GFG... Blogging is a decision that we all make - whether we want to allow the rest of the world into our lives. Some folks simply don't want to do so - and we should all respect those decisions.

GrandForksGuy said...

Matthew, I'm not trying to force anybody to blog, but I think so many media outlets are putting their heads in the sand over "this whole blogging thing" and hoping that it just goes away. People are starting to blog at an alarming rate (even on a local scale) and I don't understand why some media outlets are letting themselves get left behind in the process.

Media outlets/personalities starting their own blogs lets the average reader/viewer/listener of those outlets get a much deeper understanding of what goes into the news and how it is arrived at. When Tu-Uyen puts something up on his blog about a news story he did for the Herald, I can see the "back story" of the story itself and I can get a much more thorough grasp of the concepts in the story. Media outlets should be falling over themselves to get this kind of in-depth coverage and analysis out there and blogs are the way to do it. Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

You register for the paper on-line then, when you blog, they snag your ISP sigline, identify you, and send you coupns.

Dave Miller said...

I am simply baffled as to why newspapers, who are struggling for readership, would set up any roadblock between me and their content. Whether you are entering fake information or not, you have to DO SOMETHING in order to read the stories. That's backwards. Again, the newspaper world doesn't get the internet world. Take a lesson from the big boys, allow visitors to access specific stories limited number of times and then require registration (NY Times, WaPo...).

GFL: You brush aside the fact that it's a hassle but then shrug your shoulders and say, "oh well." What is that? Hold these people accountable. You're a daily online reader, you should be the one that they listen to. But if you appease them, then they will set up these meaningless annoyances and ruin the experience of enjoying their product and the hard work that the reporters put into the stories.

I don't visit just for the sole reason that I HAVE to register to see a story for the first time. I've made my feelings known with the powers that be, but never received an answer back. So that tells me how much they value their visitors. Sad.

Coffee Guy said...

Great, we are going to go from a mostly cluttered, visually unappealing, "let's throw everything onto one page" theory of web design, to a horribly cluttered, visually unappealing, "let's throw everything onto one page" theory of web design. Big improvement. As much as I hate the Herald's website, I think it is a lot more attractive than the Forum's.

The Forum's ad banner is larger than their header, which is just dumb and annoying. And do they really need a photo accompanying most of the articles and columns on the home page?

However, I hope we we will see the end of mind-numbing posts like "BREAKING NEWS: Mostly sunny, warm today."