See also: the website QUESTION

When I have a subscription to Newsweek, which I get when they’re desperate enough to make me an offer I can’t refuse, one of the features I’ve enjoyed most is when they bring together a group of actors for which there is potentially Academy Awards buzz. But this year’s issue was lackluster, and I know why: some of the best stuff was excised and placed on the Daily Beast website. I’m sitting, reading my magazine, and the last thing I want to do is turn on some electronic device. Especially if I’m reading a week-old magazine and am having trouble FINDING the related piece.

Worse is PARADE magazine. On the page right after the cover, there’s a box with a quote, and we’re supposed to guess which celebrity said it. But the answer is not within the pages of the magazine. No, I have to go to Wonderwall.com. I don’t FEEL like going to Wonderwall.com; I’ve been there, and it’s cheesy and a slow-loading site to boot, which I find difficult to navigate.

Of course, lots of TV shows do the same thing. Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, will have an interview run long, and he’ll throw “the complete interview up on the web.” But this bothers me less, because there is a limit to a 30-minute commercial show, and usually I’ve gotten some substance from what HAS aired, so if I don’t get a chance to go online, it usually still has value. And it’s so much easier, now that the website has a dedicated link for the extended interviews.

News networks often have more on the websites: 60 Minutes Overtime gives behind-the-scenes info for some stories. The difference, I guess, is that I can watch the 60 Minutes story on TV, for instance, without going to the website, and feel as though I have a complete enough narrative; the website merely enhances it. While the PARADE example, I either go to the website, or I simply can’t answer the question; I’m FORCED to go online.

Does any of this bother you the way it bugs me?

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5 thoughts on “See also: the website QUESTION

  1. We are in a transitional period of a whole variety of media trying to figure out how to transfer their “content” (a word I despise) to the Internet, and still make a profit on it. The traditional media are just serving as a gateway and are, I think, trying to provide “teasers” that will direct you elsewhere. Since I get most of my information – and indeed, that includes entertainment – on the Net these days, it does not bother me. I read the local paper, but that’s it; if I want news I go to multiple sites on the Net and do my own research. I watch two hours of television in real time a week, and doubt I see more than four or five movies a year in the theater; likewise, I watch “tv shows” and movies on the Net. Music? I download mp3’s. Telephone? Email and text-messaging has largely replaced that. My computer is an all-inclusive device, and I would be lost without it. Digital media takes up so much less physical room, too.

    • My concern about the Net is that the SOPA/ACTA forces will limit what we see in insidious ways.
      As for movies: ain’t the same experience for me on the net. Maybe it’s because my job requires me to be on the Internet for 6+ hours a day, but the last thing I want to do on my off time is look at a computer screen.
      The difference between telephony, where one hears the voice, and e-mail/texting is staggering in terms of data nuance lost. This is not to say I call people very much, and e-mail helps me keep track of stuff, but it’s a lesser form of human interaction.

  2. A lot of old guys like me (and apparently you too Roger) make a strict separation between online reading and dead tree reading, they do both but not at the same time. I think that’s pretty widespread. Thus these online links in the dead tree copy make no sense.

    Roger, have you ever gotten up from your easy chair in the living room, put down your magazine, walked over to the grandpa box, sat down, blinked, got up again, went back into the living room to fetch the magazine, walked back to the computer, sat down, fussed through the magazine to find the link, laboriously typed in the URL because google did not recognize the information they gave in the teaser, found the magazine site, waded through their crap, then finally found the item referenced in the teaser only to discover that it was not at all interesting?

    I think I did that a grand total of twice. I learned not to bother. This seriously makes me wonder why they want to make us toss aside our magazines like that.

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