The NY Times clutters “City Room” with things of little value to online readers 6/19/07Posted by Steve Boriss in Hyperlocal news, NYTimes.
If the purpose of the NY Times’ new “City Room” was to put all of the shallow cliches about the Internet, bloggers, and the future of news into one convenient location, it must be considered an enormous success. According to the Times, it is a “blog,” an “online community,” it will “respond quickly” to breaking news, will include “in-depth” reports from all “five boroughs of the city,” “encourage reader comments and discussion,” feature frequent “web videos,” include “news profiles on neighborhoods,” and contain “links to primary sources.”
After reviewing the City Room site, I have only one question — why would anyone actually visit it? Rather than having the feel, charm, and point-of-view that characterizes personal blogs, it offers a collection of unrelated stories that just happen to be entered in reverse chronological order. And, it does not offer the type of hyperlocal news that directly affects readers’ lives because the chances of a story actually being about a reader’s hyperlocal area are slim in a city as large and diverse as New York. So, by offering a collection of unrelated stories about someone else’s part of town, why would the Times expect readers to feel like they are part of a “community,” much less be inspired to submit online comments? I don’t get it, and I suspect Morgan Stanley and other shareholders seeking to unseat the controlling Sulzberger family might not either.