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Chron.com website: a profit-first wasteland of irresponsible journalism and the dumbed-down rabble


nonenadazilch

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While the vastness of the internet offers a myriad of venues for people to get information, the public website of any city's main newspaper remains the logical and dominant source of comprehensive news coverage for locals.  How shamefully, then, does the Houston Chronicle's primary website operate in its current state. 

 

On a daily basis, Chron.com elevates superfluous drivel as "news" and offers nary a significant focus story or thought-evoking investigation.  Remember their slogan, "Houston's leading information source"?  Recalling that would be laughable, if not for heeding the level of abrogation of duty for the town's major news outlet.

 

In the country's nascent times, Thomas Jefferson invokes the notion that the health of a democracy depends on an informed citizenry.  One glance at Chron.com on no particular day would have him turning in his grave.  Need examples?  Take yesterday's iteration.  Yesterday's OPEC announcement crashed the oil market, for example.  Not a single, even cursory writeup or perspective on the impact to the local economy - in lieu, a link to a lonely Bloomberg article.  How's that for informing the public.  In an in-state comparison, the content & aesthetics of the website for that large north Texas city demonstrates how magnificently Chron.com portrays its inferiority.  What do editors consider important?  The main photo & story when the website opens is a picture of Hooter's girls in alluring pose accompanied by the all-important story of where fans of the NFL Texans can watch Sunday's game.  On the sidebar and formatted below the Hooter's girls: links to no less than a dozen stories that fawn over celebrities, multi-million dollar home listings, miscellaneous crime, new Netflix releases, and wistfully one or two current event pieces drawn from wire services

 

Celebrity worship, money worship, local & national entertainment and pastime pieces dominate.  Want to learn about or read up on substantive local, national, & world issues & current events?  "Don't bother," say the editors at 801 Texas Ave.  Informed citizenry be damned.  Your page clicks and the ad revenue generation are all that matter.  I understand the economics might require the pay-wall to their actual attempts at journalism.  But how is it that news websites for other towns with far less stature than Houston can manage to effectively, optimally accommodate the business demands of their corporate overlord with at least reasonable levels of journalistic standards and site aesthetics?

 

Shameless, greedy, irresponsible are just a few deserving mantras that the Hearst Corp. and Houston Chronicle earn.  As the frontispiece for local journalism on full display in the World Wide Web, I can imagine no greater embarrassment.

 

 

Edited by nonenadazilch
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It's certainly not the greatest, or even as good as it once was, but it's still the best way I've found to scan local headlines so far.  Anyone have other recommendations?

 

Through its no-frills website, on-air broadcasts, and freely open podcast subscriptions, Houston Public Media excels in offering local coverage.  Culturemap, though entertainment & leisure pieces are prominent, is at least equal to chron.com with an occasional thoughtful writeup on public interest subjects similar in quality to what one finds behind the Chronicle's pay-wall.  Once upon a time, readers of the Houston Press could anticipate an occasional excellent dive into a public interest topic.  Sadly, they too appear to succumb to the trend toward the sensational & pacifying scene-sters.  Websites of the local network tv affiliates are similar to one another and offer at least as much crime & punishment headlines and sensational local blurbs as chron.com.

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Have you've discussed this problem with the proper authorities of the Houston Chronicle?

 

 

Or have you written a letter to the editor of the Chronicle?

This is nothing new. They have had a terrible website since the beginning. It's slow, bloated, has poor content, not updated very frequently, hard to navigate and even harder to search for a past article. 

 

And don't even get me started about the subscriber service. 

 

Other then that it's great!  ^_^

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Blue Dogs asks "Have you discussed this problem with the proper authorities of the Houston Chronicle? Or have you written a letter to the editor of the Chronicle?"

 

FYI: The editor is one of the "proper authorities". In fact that is the person most responsible for allowing the travesty we see on the website 24/7. Seeing that all content is written, edited and ready for publication is that person's job description.

 

So why waste your time writing a letter and wasting a good stamp? It's abundantly clear every day that he/she doesn't care what they put out there. 

 

Edited by FilioScotia
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Guess I shouldn't have made that comment yesterday. They didn't deliver my paper this morning. Another problem. They no longer bring you out a paper when you report it missing. Have to wait till the next day. Man do I miss the Post. 

 

I think this varies depending on who your distributor is. The one that handles home delivery for my neighborhood has been pretty good about getting replacements for missing papers to me on the same day, usually within an hour or two of reporting it. Occasionally I don't get one until the next day. The guy who used to be the distributor several years ago even gave me his cell phone number and encouraged me to call him directly if I had a delivery problem, and again, whenever I had to call him, I'd get a same-day replacement. 

 

What really chaps my posterior is that the Powers that Be removed the option to request a credit for missing papers on the website in lieu of redelivery. There are times when I'd just as soon go buy a replacement paper at the gas station and request a credit rather than wait for redelivery. That, and the mess they made of the online comics page when they redesigned it several years ago, removing the functionality that allowed you to build your own custom page. 

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I don't think the Chronicle is that bad. They've significantly improved their mobile version of their site, and their articles (while some are pretty stupid) also consist of some good ones that get picked up nationally. They have some good reads from Sci Guy, Prime Property, and some news. I just wish they'd remove all comments from their site. I think they're playing a game of reading peoples' comments (and trying to appease morons) when they need to realize that only morons and racists comment on their articles.

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I think this varies depending on who your distributor is. The one that handles home delivery for my neighborhood has been pretty good about getting replacements for missing papers to me on the same day, usually within an hour or two of reporting it. Occasionally I don't get one until the next day. The guy who used to be the distributor several years ago even gave me his cell phone number and encouraged me to call him directly if I had a delivery problem, and again, whenever I had to call him, I'd get a same-day replacement. 

 

What really chaps my posterior is that the Powers that Be removed the option to request a credit for missing papers on the website in lieu of redelivery. There are times when I'd just as soon go buy a replacement paper at the gas station and request a credit rather than wait for redelivery. That, and the mess they made of the online comics page when they redesigned it several years ago, removing the functionality that allowed you to build your own custom page. 

 

They also seemed to have stopped issuing you credit when on vacation. They use to show that option when you put your subscription on vacation hold. Now you get two choices: deliver my papers when I return or don't deliver my papers when I return. Nothing is mentioned about a credit to your account. 

 

I did finally get a paper around 4pm that same day. Plus I got another one delivered with my next day's paper. Perhaps I will go stand under an overpass and sell the extra copy. :D

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Almost all major newspapers will have a kind of dumby site in lieu to the real thing which you will need to pay for. When you do pay for it, from what I hear, the content is quite good and fleshed out.

 

Lets also remember that the Chronicle was one of the first to move from Newspapers to mostly Online. While not every article like in every newspaper or opinion column in paper or tv, it does do a decent job of covering Houston and other areas of town. It also does just good enough for articles to be picked up nationally and I do see chron articles mentioned in reddit feeds frequently.

 

The biggest problem is that they have succumbed to the same problems most other journalist have, and that is the quickened pace of putting out articles just so they can be "first" rather than verifying sources, or correcting grammar, or what's worse is when you are trying to type articles up so quickly you own biases and inclinations will start to seep through instead of a more neutral informative article some major articles feel as if they have an agenda.

 

The biggest improvements they can make is by disabling comments on general news topics and restricting it to only opinion pieces. CNN has done this on their website. At one point you could comment on almost every article, but then it just turns into a cesspool of racism, trolling, and downright despicable opinions. Of course CNN has also done the most terrible thing ever which is literally becoming the reporters of "Twitter News" *facepalm*

 

When you put it up against other papers it's about the norm with current journalistic trends and attitudes. The great paradigm shift will be when cable/satellite tv takes inevitable plunge which will then kill the 24 news cycle as we know it and then you get news which has to survive purely for it's journalist merits rather than just.....omg we have like 8hrs of programming we have fill.....quick make up something! Of course it could create a feeding frenzy where news becomes so bit sized to get out stories quickly that it becomes insignificant.....but I'll take the former than the latter. Again I think the death of TV will be the big change when it comes to problems stated above.

Edited by Luminare
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 I just wish they'd remove all comments from their site. I think they're playing a game of reading peoples' comments (and trying to appease morons) when they need to realize that only morons and racists comment on their articles.

 

 

 

The biggest improvements they can make is by disabling comments on general news topics and restricting it to only opinion pieces. CNN has done this on their website. At one point you could comment on almost every article, but then it just turns into a cesspool of racism, trolling, and downright despicable opinions.

 

 

They need to consider doing Disquis in their comments section: Texas Monthly recently unveiled theirs not too long ago.

 

keep-calm-and-dont-read-the-comments-1.p

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  • 9 months later...

Excuse me for bumping this thread but just have to rant. The Chronicle has only gotten worse. When I called and asked about a vacation hold for two weeks and credit for no delivery they told me they no longer give credit since I have access to the online edition. Even though the digital edition costs less then half of what I pay for home delivery ($31 month). I would totally cancel the home delivery and just keep the digital access if their web page wasn't the worse I have ever seen. I have three different browsers I try to access it with and none work half the time. I like their writers and I like their content but I'm ready to dump the Chronicle for something less costly and more accessible. Anybody have any suggestions? Maybe USA today? 

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Excuse me for bumping this thread but just have to rant. The Chronicle has only gotten worse. When I called and asked about a vacation hold for two weeks and credit for no delivery they told me they no longer give credit since I have access to the online edition. Even though the digital edition costs less then half of what I pay for home delivery ($31 month). I would totally cancel the home delivery and just keep the digital access if their web page wasn't the worse I have ever seen. I have three different browsers I try to access it with and none work half the time. I like their writers and I like their content but I'm ready to dump the Chronicle for something less costly and more accessible. Anybody have any suggestions? Maybe USA today? 

 

Get the NoScript add on for firefox.  It blocks all scripts running on a page and gives you a toggle list in case you want to turn some back on.  Once you take a look at the list you'll understand why the chron page is so bad.  With the scripts turned off, it loads in a flash.  The only things I've had a problem with so far is slideshows and video, but those can be individually turned on if needed.  Seems like most of the ad inserts (heb, kroger, lowes, etc) come in the mail now so I don't even bother with the print edition anymore.

 

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