“The pressure of online advertising (makes) your favorite local news site, and many others, a fresh hell that even Dante himself couldn’t have imagined.”


One minute to read an article written at 3rd-grade level of comprehension, and two minutes to swat away the myriad advertising intrusions.

What could any of this possibly have to do with the demise of the American “democratic” experiment?

Why Are Newspaper Websites So Horrible? by Andrew Zaleski (CityLab)

The pop-up ads! The autoplaying videos!

Emily Goligoski … has heard time and again from news readers about how they’re increasingly turned off by the presentation they’re offered by local newspapers’ websites.

The torments of these sites are well known: clunky navigation, slow page-loading times, browser-freezing autoplaying videos, a siege of annoying pop-up ads, and especially those grids of bottom-of-the-page “related content” ads hawking belly fat cures and fake headlines (what’s known as Internet chum).

Put another way: Why must newspaper websites suck so damn much?

In particular, why is the online presence of local papers so much vividly worse than other fare on the web—especially when these outlets are engaged in a desperate fight for readers and subscribers nationwide? Perhaps you recall the (in)famous cartoon drawn by Brad Colbow in 2011. Entitled “This is Why Your Newspaper is Dying,” it offered a cheeky but precise summation of several crimes against digital decency, from “Your content takes up less than 20% of the page” to “Linking to a random story in the middle of an article.”

If anything, the situation may have somehow gotten worse in the years since, and the quality gap between local newspaper sites and more sophisticated content purveyors has become even more stark …