One reader, a former McClatchy employee, posted a thoughtful -- and highly critical -- analysis of McClatchy's web sites. I am reprinting the entire post below, minus a few sentences which could identify the employee. (The former employee included some info that might lead to identifying him/her but I removed the info so it doesn't distract from the message.) Here it is:
... look at the MNI newspaper web sites. They are something out of the early 1990s and are entirely 10-15 years behind all around. They are entirely prehistoric. And I do mean entirely. Just a few things off the
top of my head.
The online world is immediate. It's now. It has changed drastically, especially the last 5 years, and will continue to do so. I don't need to tell YOU this, but MNI doesn't understand this FACT and they are still trying to catch up from 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 years ago, let alone the changes from the last 5 years. It's like tossing a cat with one leg onto a fast-moving treadmill.
They do not understand the concept and crucial importance of visuals and the importance of interactivity.
Despite the FACT, yes it's a FACT, that all online numbers improve exponentially with commenting as a feature on columns, stories and links, you've still got employees at the very top, and of course locally within, bickering on whether or not commenting works because God forbid you put your readership's commenting alongside the content of the journalists.
Same goes for the photos and reader-submitted content. This company simply does not embrace the value of the community content and that the community has a voice.
The company's internal content management program/system they are using is something [ancient]. From what I understand, their internal developers had been instructed to create something new, but like the mindless morons at the top that are running things, they wanted to create it in-house, as opposed to going outside and having a vendor do it for them. After spending at least 18 months on the initial in-house development stages, it was scrapped. So almost two years of wasted time and resources on developing something that they could have just gotten from a vendor instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, only to scrap the plans anyway. Again, this is the MNI mindset.
They simply do not get it. They are too thickheaded to change the mindset and it will be too late before it's realized. During my short cup of coffee there, I left there knowing that I tried my best to get them to "get it" but they just didn't. Surprise!
Fortunately, I think they're just about realizing it. Unfortunately for those remaining and for the company as a whole, it's my belief that they're probably about 5-7 years too late to even have a chance.
The mindset at MNI is prehistoric, they are playing "catch-up" like you wouldn't believe, and not just at the local level either, although the local level leadership makes the top-level leadership look like geniuses - imagine that?!
I can assure you that unless there has been some drastic changes at the very top and local levels (at the top), which I don't believe there has been since I've been there, MNI doesn't have a prayer when it comes to online.
My opinion, but one I'd put a lot of money on.
What do you think?