There are a great many reasons that the newspaper industry has been hit by very hard times, most notably because of...well, what we're all doing here right now on the Internet. Though I've always felt that a newspaper on the Internet is still a newspaper, just in a different format to read. Subscriptions plummet, though there is still heaving advertising, though I suspect the rates are much lower. So, hard times. But I note that newspapers are coming up with ways to deal with that, like Web-only articles for subscribers and limited access to articles if you're not a subscriber. But...yes, hard times, and understandably so.The Los Angeles Times, though, might also want to look in the mirror. (And no, I don't meant Times-Mirror.) Not only do they have a convoluted web log-in process that far too often screws up, but far worse was what I ran into today.
As I wrote last night, UCLA won the national championship for baseball on Tuesday. After 108 national championships for the school, it was their first-ever for baseball. A few hours after the game, I went on the Times website to read their report. I figured they might even have it as the headline story. Nope, not on the front page. I clicked off, and ended up reading about it elsewhere, on ESPN's website.
Just now – and it’s past noon – I went back to the paper online. I browsed through the homepage…but not a single word about the local college, UCLA, winning their first-ever baseball national championship. Oh, well, okay, they didn't see it as a front page story, I'm surprised, but their choice -- so, I went to the sports page.
And it wasn’t the headline story there, either. Now, I was really surprised. And I scrolled down the page -- but couldn’t find it at all. I mean nowhere on the L.A. Times sports page that UCLA won the national championship – I was flabbergasted, so I looked yet again. And finally…near the very bottom of the page, in the "Oh, by the way, More" afterthought section – and again, remember, it’s past noon – they had a tiny story about how UCLA is one game away from winning the championship!! They didn't even have that they had won -- the night before!
Here’s the screenshot. Even knowing that it’s here, you’ll have to look hard to find it. And it’s 40 hours behind the story!! Yipes.
In fairness, there has to be some really odd, totally bizarre, inexplicable glitch here. But still -- so much for "Hot off the presses."
UPDATE: Later in the day, I went back and they did have something posted with a "rolling graphic" -- photo story links that scroll by, replaced by another -- and for all I know it was there before, but hidden. But even if so, this isn't something that should be hidden. It should be a banner headline that is splashed across the screen -- and also is at least somewhere on the front page. The local college won the national championship. And to have the story about the game the day before is ridiculous.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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