Online newspapers too cluttered

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Annoying online ads might be effective, but they don’t inspire much loyalty, according to Barb Palser, director of digital media for McGraw-Hill Broadcasting Co.

To new-media trailblazers, newspaper tribulations sometimes seem adorably quaint. Consider the controversy over front-page newspaper ads reported by Donna Shaw in AJR’s last issue ( “A Fading Taboo,” June/July). “Page-one ads may net premium prices,” Shaw writes, “but they’re distasteful to many journalists who believe they violate the purity of page one and the sacred wall between news and business. From a design standpoint, they can detract from the flow and order of a page.

“Front-page purity? Online news sites waived that notion a long time ago. Design flow and order? It’s a nice ideal, seldom achieved on the Web. Standards of taste, meanwhile, are flexible. If you have doubts about that, just picture the gyrating silhouettes on those ubiquitous ads for LowerMyBills.com. Or the mélange of “rich media” ads that push down, pop up and take over entire pages.

[Continued reading about Cluttered Newspapers]

Barb is a former student, research assistant and friend of mine from my days at Louisiana State University’s Manship School and one of the best at what she does. Her point here is well taken: “Web managers would benefit in the long run from a philosophy that is more attuned to what consumers want than what they’ll tolerate.”

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This blog is maintained by Dr. Matthew M. Reavy as a service to journalism students at the University of Scranton.

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