The design, functionality and commercial success of newspapers in the online space is a subject dear to my heart! I’m particularly interested in the dynamics of local media and the sometimes painful transition that local papers are undertaking as they work to find a viable way of profitably developing their online presence.

I saw two articles today that have different takes on this subject:

Redesigning And Re-Thinking The News is a thoughtful look at the recent redesign of the NYT site and raises some valid criticisms of the newspaper industry’s approach to putting content on-line.

The Brads

Brad Colbow - why your newspaper is dying

This is Why Your Newspaper is Dying raises some valid points, but is (in my opinion) mis-titled should really be “This is how to improve newspaper web design”.

Both articles (in common with many other articles on the topic) are quick to criticise the advertising that inevitably accompanies newspaper site pages – from a design or aesthetic perspective this is valid. But, given that the successful implementation of paywalls is at best, a long time away, how else should a local media organisation be financing itself?

That isn’t to say that there aren’t different solutions that perhaps aren’t widely adopted yet or are still being developed, but right now I’d say advertising is a critical component for local media sites.