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Discovered today: . They (a k a ) also publish weeklies in and I don’t live in any of these places, but since I’m moderating a panel at the ‘s annual convention on Thursday, I was looking at the Web site of the free tabloid from the St. Pete Times, which is called tbt* (stands for Tampa Bay Times, in case you were wondering; I don’t know what the asterisk is for). Then I did a blog search to see if anyone has had anything interesting to say about the tabloid … and that led me to Weekly Planet Tampa.
I liked what I saw. I especially liked a long text article titled — partly because I live in Florida and largely because I am what people call a “foodie,” but most of all because it was really interesting, and I hadn’t seen a story like it anywhere else. It’s very local. The reporter did lots of legwork, and what’s more, he really talked with people. This is the kind of story that in a typical American newspaper is a total waste of time — some reporter who could not care less spends an hour at a farmer’s market, fishes for five or six quotes, and they run it on the Lifestyle front on Sunday with a big posed photo of a fat guy wearing a straw hat. Yeah, right.
That’s not what we have in the Weekly Planet. Nope! Reporter Brian Ries seems to be motivated by valid questions:
… why is it that in Florida’s supermarkets — and even at some roadside stands — it can be next to impossible to find local food? Though chefs and gourmands tout local ingredients as the foundation of regional cuisine, why do so few restaurants actually use them? Hell, is local food even any better?
I could go on about that one story, but that’s only a tiny part of what I’m trying to say here: I really liked this Web site. It loads fast, it’s easy to use, and somehow, it really appeals to me. I’ve spent a lot of time in the past 10 years looking at a lot of newspaper Web sites, and mostly, I hate them. They are ugly, slow, and difficult to absorb.
I liked the : Easy to read and easy to sort. I liked the . I pretty much liked everything I saw, and it’s sort of driving me crazy because there was no cool multimedia and almost no photography — so why did I like it? Maybe because ?
- Fresh, non-redundant content
- Clean, appealing page layout (no clutter)
- Clear navigation
What didn’t I like? Well, the lack of comments on the articles is a bad sign. I found one story on the Atlanta site , but most stories I opened had zero. Could be a sign that no one reads the articles online … possibly they are read more often in the print version.
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