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


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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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I cannot count the number of times I've gone to our major daily's website for news in the last couple of years.  Literally.  Because you can't count to zero.  At least the dead trees version has some utility as a fish wrap.

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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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