Last week Thisweek completed its merger with Sun and became Sun Thisweek. and the combined forces revealed a revamped website which includes much of the same content everyone has been used to seeing over the past few years from Thisweek. However, a recent article about the merger speaks about this combination paper as if it were necessary for life, almost alluding to the fact that you wouldn’t be able to breath without it. While local media is definitely important, one has to wonder if Sun Thisweek is taking itself and it’s decade-old website design a little too seriously.
From the article:
If you haven’t ever considered how our newspaper and website can be essential, think of the information we disseminate about the things in your life – food, water, air, a place to live, a car to drive, clothes to wear, family, friends and community.
We write stories about healthy eating, water quality, pollution, new roads and housing developments, in addition to carrying ads for restaurants, car dealers and places to shop.
In 2012 it takes some real guts for a media outlet to take itself so seriously. They admit to having serious competition in the marketplace, competition which does many things far better than Sun Thisweek will ever do such as design a decent website which doesn’t have scrolling comment boxes, drop down menu bar tabs circa 1999, and have an option to share something on Pinterest (seriously, do you guys not get what Pinterest users prefer to pin?!)
The work that Sun Thisweek puts out certainly has value and interest in the community but for them to go on a 700+ word rant raving about how their readers cannot live without it is simply over-the-top. Their competition does it better, faster, and their content, in many areas, is more relevant to their readers. The only reason that they have the reach they do is because they’re free and, in some cases, delivered directly to the doorstep of the people they serve.
Sun Thisweek has a long way to go before they can start to proclaim necessity to their base. They need to get on top of their competitors and begin pushing out information faster, better, and in ways which better meet the needs of the people of 2012. While they’re trying and doing a better job than they have in the past, they seem to be playing catchup more than being so important that we’d be unable to breathe without them.
Lazy Lightning has been slipping lately and I’m sure you’ve noticed. While we’ve never taken ourselves (I can actually say that now that I have sent out another person to research and write an article!) seriously, we do strive to push out content that is relevant, interesting and fun. Unfortunately sometimes life simply gets in the way. A new job, another baby on the way and wrapping up a graduate degree on an accelerated time schedule takes away from the time I have to sink into the site the way I used to. There’s no time for watching 3 or 4 different city council meetings a week, scouring 1000s of different news sources carefully to build a wide-ranging knowledgebase and analysis of some ridiculous little tidbit, and certainly not enough time to put over an hour into each and every single post that comes out five days a week. These aren’t meant to be excuses, it’s simply a fact of life.
However, instead of blatantly talking up what I have going on here and telling you that it’s the greatest website on the planet with some of the best stories around, I openly admit that Lazy Lightning‘s content is suffering at the hands of external forces and I could do better. I think that perhaps Sun Thisweek should really take a step back and reconsider their most recent article which suggests we would all die of thirst, go hungry, and suffocate if it weren’t for their work and instead strive to develop something that’s faster, better, and above all filled with content that’s far better than it is. While they’re certainly getting there (see the extensive financial history background provided in their article on DanDan’s Rise and Whine food truck) they have a very long way to go to get me and everyone else to believe that we’d not be able to live without them.
What do you think? Do you think Sun Thisweek was a bit over-the-top with their article? Do you live for the next edition to come out so you can learn about which businesses about to go under who have entirely too much advertising money to burn? Do you think their newly revamped website could use a real web designer to give them a few pointers? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.