Sunday, 12 October 2008

A closer look at those NYT blogs

I won't tell a lie and say that what follows is the result of a month long quantitative and qualitative survey and study of NYT's blogs - it isn't.

It's a snap shot of their blogs, taken at around 20.00 hrs CET Paris time on Sunday 12 October, 2008, the kind of time when people in Europe or in Manhattan before lunch might be taking a look at the web.

First off, the logos - I have to get this off my chest.

The design is what the Australians would call 'daggy' (a dag being a piece of shit stuck to the matted wollen rear end of a sheep). I get T magazine which is about as good as NYT design gets so I know they are capable of better, but the following reprentative example is an absolute embarrassment. If MSM wants to know why it can't connect with younger audiences, take a look at these bad boys.







Secondly, you can generally judge the health of a blog by the quality not just of its postings but also the quality and quantity of its comments. If people like your blog, they track it. If you don't get a comment in about 1 hour of a post you're not really in the game. Meislin says most (non-NYT) blogs don't moderate comments - true, but there are millions and millions of blogs so what does 'most' mean in this case. Absolutely nothing. All the ones I like and follow moderate, and have good quality comments.
Assuming comments are moderated in a timely manner - and if not, there again the NYT is missing the entire point of the immediacy of the blogosphere, then I'd say things are not looking too good for NYT blogs - single digit comments, or none at all, are frequent.
As to the postings these range from simple re-hashes of other NYT material or links to it, or (does Mr. Keller know this?!!) riffing off non-MSM i.e Internet sites and blogs. The shame of it when it's done the other way round!
I'd say only a couple of these blogs past muster and I guarantee you I can find you 10 blogs for each of the subjects covered (with the exception of the NYT's public editor whose last post was about a week ago and got just 4 comments) that have heaps more traffic, better content and a lot more reader interactivity.
So, what exactly is the NYT.com doing here apart from being able to say it has 'blogs' for which it does not even have a particular editorial policy.
In short: a mess. If Rich has got traffic data that proves me wrong, then I'm all ears.
I leave you to examine the below, explore further and draw your own conclusions.




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