Home > Technology > Slide shows suck (updated w/ comment)

Slide shows suck (updated w/ comment)

December 18, 2010

Let’s face it, slide shows are just ways for newspaper sites to drive up page views and sell ads to advertisers who don’t know the difference between a unique visitor and someone who views 30 different photos in 45 seconds. The Province and the Vancouver Sun loves slide shows and now community newspapers are getting in on the act. For good reason too: it works and placates the higher ups.

Anyways, Mike McCue of Flipboard.com did a Q&A with the Los Angeles Times that I found interesting and may apply to community news sites, indirectly. Here’s the first Q and A:

How can journalism benefit from the tablet? What can it do that the newspaper or the PC can’t?

McCue: The problem with journalism on the Web today is that it’s being contaminated by the Web form factor. What I mean is, journalists are being pushed to do things like slide shows — stuff meant to attract page views. Articles themselves are condensed to narrow columns of text across 5, 6, 7 pages, and ads that are really distracting for the reader, so it’s not a pleasant experience to ‘curl up’ with a good website.

Journalism is being pushed into a space where I don’t think it should ever go, where it’s trying to support the monetization model of the Web by driving page views. So what you have is a drop-off of long-form journalism, because long-form pieces are harder to monetize. And it’s also hard to present that longer stuff to the reader because no one wants to wait four seconds for every page to load.

more…

This is promising. It’s also a little worrying because you know community newspapers are going to be the very last to adapt any sort of tablet technology. Hopefully the slide shows will disappear in a year or so.

But Tim Shoults writes in the comments below:

I agree that slide shows (especially those ones full of file photos) in place of long-form journalism is not the way to go. But why not both where appropriate? How many times have you (or a photog in your newsroom) come back from an event with a whole handful of photos, one of which gets published in the paper – or maybe five or six if it’s a photo spread? Photo galleries can and should be used to showcase those shots that otherwise never see the light of day.

He’s right, of course. Photo galleries are OK when use judiciously. But they are sort of the opium of web journalism. Helpful in rare cases, but far too easy to abuse.

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  1. December 18, 2010 at 9:57 am

    I agree that slide shows (especially those ones full of file photos) in place of long-form journalism is not the way to go. But why not both where appropriate? How many times have you (or a photog in your newsroom) come back from an event with a whole handful of photos, one of which gets published in the paper – or maybe five or six if it’s a photo spread? Photo galleries can and should be used to showcase those shots that otherwise never see the light of day.

  1. December 18, 2010 at 1:48 pm
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