Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Some notes

Some problems over at has readers concerned. Also there is a little dissatisfaction with the comment moderation policy, which seems to be in flux.

First they said they would simply delete comments without notice, but now appear to be leaving behind a bunny trail of notes where comments were removed.

It's beginning to look like we have a premature launch.


inky said...

The way the content director sold, I think everyone was expecting some blockbuster, revolutionary product that would have people buzzing not just in southeastern Michigan, but in journalism circles across the country. After all, it was replacing a 174-year-old institution in the first city to lose its daily paper, right?

Instead, is a flat, unintuitive site that (and I can't believe I'm saying this) makes Mlive look like a design masterpiece. The few truly hard news stories are straight out of the old inverted pyramid playbook and are listed right with record reviews and salad recipes -- what's THAT about? There also are way too many one-source and we-turned-a-press-release-into-a-story stories, but I suppose that's the tradeoff when you're staffed at such anemic levels.

For all of the content director's bloviating that writers would be carefully selected for both their journalistic expertise and their new media prowess, I haven't yet read a single news story that couldn't have been written by someone in his/her 50s or 60s ... or 90s, for that matter.

I know some of the commenters have praised the site's "clean" look, but to me there is absolutely no visual punch and while I prefer printed papers, I read online news content every single day. It's hard to believe they brought in a design guru for this. And the acorn/oak thing still escapes me.

Whether you're launching a car, a new cereal or a news website, it's crucial to bring your A-game out of the gate. With months of time to prepare, should have debuted with knockout content that would have had people saying "Ann Arbor News? What Ann Arbor News?"

Instead, almost a week into, the ad nauseum mea culpas and the "be patient, we're new at this" stuff is already getting old. It'd be one thing if a vacuum cleaner maker suddenly started an online newspaper and stumbled out of the gate with a bad product, but this is Advance. Say what you want about their recent Wal-Martization of journalism and their affection for feckless managers, they HAVE been in the news business for generations. What should have been an all-hands-on-deck exercise is seemingly yet another lost opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Premature Activation. Sorry honey.

Anonymous said...

Premature launch? As Gomer Pyle would say ... "SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE!" Hey, maybe that's the problem. Pvt. Pyle is in charge of this debacle.

Anonymous said...

The 2 year lifespan I gave has been downgraded to a 1 year projection. I think the bloggy style of reporting is that bad to date.

Anonymous said...

MLive sucks because the so-called veteran print journalists who think they are all so wonderful all these years suck. It will, and is, getting better.

Anonymous said...

Premature? This is what you get today: is temporarily unavailable. is temporarily unavailable. During routine maintenance, we experienced a problem with our servers that we're working to resolve as quickly as possible. Please check back for additional updates. For those of you who have signed up for the newsletter, we'll send you an email as soon as the site is back up. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Tiger Lily said...

Anonymous 1:36: Given your broad vocabulary and commanding grasp of criticism, I suspect you're somehow affiliated with

By all objective measures its launch is a diaster, with yet more technical problems today. If it seems people are taking a bit too much delight in that, perhaps it's because the content director helped preside over the decline of two newspapers, only to given yet another opportunity to succeed.

Anonymous said...

Am I an old fuddyduddy or is this offensive? Did the writer ever have anyone close to him die?

by Dan Feldman | The Flint Journal
Thursday July 30, 2009, 8:15 AM
GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP, Michigan — Princess Diana, Mother Theresa and David Duval's promising career were still alive the last time Duval played in the Buick Open.

Anonymous said...

No, mlive sucks b/c print journalists were kept out of it for all but the last year. your numbers went through the roof when we started blogging the stories, doing audio/video, etc. it sucked as a concept (jeff jarvis, buddy, no surprise), and b/c owners didn't care about it, refused to change it to adapt to market conditions/technology, made it compete with its own newspapers for advertisings instead of collabarating with them, etc. It has gotten a lot better in recent years, but is still light years behind.