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April 05, 2010

Tell me what you think

PBfrontpageIn what is becoming an annual event, I'm turning to the opinionated and insightful readers of this blog for some feedback on the Post-Bulletin and our Web site.

 And I'm tossing in a couple bonus questions this time.

• Do you read the print edition? Why or why not?
• What do you like about the newspaper?

• What don't you like?

• Do you read postbulletin.com? When and where do you read it?

• What do you like or dislike about the Web site?

• Do you get more out of the newspaper this year than you did last year? How about postbulletin.com?

• Would you recommend the Post-Bulletin in any of its forms to a friend?

BONUS QUESTION

-1 In a February issue, The Economist looked at "The Data Deluge" for many perspectives. Wal-Mart's databases are being pumped with 1 million sales a hour. Facebook has 40 billion photos on it. Tech companies are focusing more and more on analysis data like IBM's purchase of the data-savvy firm, SPSS, in Rochester.

We are inundated with information all day, everyday.

Interpreting and understanding the information is becoming an exercise in triage. That means only dealing with what you most need or want and letting the rest wash over you with no consideration or analysis.

• What data do you need help turning into usable information? What kind questions do you need help answering everyday?


Comments

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Jeff,

I'm a resident physician in a surgical specialty with a new-born (i.e. I have VERY little spare time), so I don't read the print version. I am able to read the post-bulletin online in my spare time while at the clinic. I'll scan the front page of the website, but I usually just go straight to your blog to keep up a little bit on the local business news.

On a separate note, I have had a heck of a time finding info on the Cascade Lake project. Maybe it's because I'm fairly new to the area, but I haven't heard much about it. And the City's website on the project hasn't been updated in at least 1 year. Do you know what's happening with that project? Thank you for your hard work!

I only read the print version and Kiger's online blog. I prefer the print at night as my R&R. Plus I get my funnies:)

Print: Do not read. I received it for a little while, but it was a waste of paper.

Prefer online, to get current news. Easier to scan the articles on one page and figure out what may be interesting.

Do not like the Flash ads. Started blocking the sites that serve them, to not see the same teeth whitening ads.

• Do you read the print edition? Why or why not? I red the printed edition, I get the Austin and Rochester copies, because I like to have something to touch. I find htere are some things in the print that are not in the online
• What do you like about the newspaper?
Living in Austin, it is much better than the Herald. coming from Rochester, I like the local news.

• What don't you like?
I miss some of the ads on the weekend, I have to buy the Herald on Sunday for the local ads.

• Do you read postbulletin.com? When and where do you read it?
I read this part of the online version.

I get the weekend print edition and the free trials of the daily paper. I prefer to read online though since my paper doesn't get to my house until mid afternoon and I often times will have already read the stories online and then the paper version is just a waste.

I enjoy the print version, but the thing that keeps me from subscribing to the daily version is that it is so late before I get the paper in my hands. I would read the print version if I had it while I eat breakfast or while on the bus on my way to work. But for now, online is my main source of Rochester news. I can read it on breaks at work and its always available wherever there is a computer, easier to get to than a paper copy.

I read the online edition and my wife reads the print. I usually read it while at work and my wife still likes to sit down and read the paper. I usually read the PB online via my RSS feed. I suscribe to your feed Jeff and the new stories of the day. The layout of the website is fine, it's pretty easy to find sections and info....but it's slow and the flash ads slowing it down are really anoying. I think I do get more out of the PB online this year than last year. I also think that is due to your section Jeff. The first thing I read in the AM is Kiger's Notebook. I enjoy the timely local news that you cover.

I have gotten the print edition before but the papers just pile up and pile up without being read so I decided to stop the subscription.

My wife would get the Sunday edition if there were more coupons - we actually get the strib because there's more coupons and savings in there.

Online: Of course I read Jeff and then will go from there to the home page and browse from there if anything catches my eye. I go to Kiger's column at least 3 times a day to see if anything is new and what new comments might be.

Website problems: Too many columns, especially on home page. Seems there is a lot of ads being ran that might dilute the ad space if that makes any sense. Instead of having lots of ad areas on the home page, just have fewer ones - but then again I understand that the home page of a site is the one that gets the most traffic.

I never use the "Jobs | Auto |Homes" area and have very rarely clicked on the advertisers area.

Tell ya the truth, what would be nice is to have a "Breaking News" site like chicagobreakingnews which has current news stories whereas the chicagotribune site has stories that are a little more dated (6 - 24 hour) and are more in depth and detail.

Lot of clutter on the masthead on the home page.

The site is just cluttered on the home page... would be nice to let the page breathe a little more, have some text instead of bullet points for a lot of stories...

----------

Side note: With the love for the business section, why doesn't the SBJ come back? There's a vacuum for a local business news site.

I read the PB because it is all that is available for local news, and I supplement with KTTC online and sometimes KROC for "big" stories, hoping for more current information. The PB online does not (is not able to?) publish "up-to-the-minute" news, and the "Breaking News" feature seems to have disappeared as of late. For state news I read the StarTribune.com.

I find you and Elliot Mann to be the only sources of real news in this town. You are both consistent in relevance, timeliness, quality, and depth (although Elliot spells better! ;-). Many days, the rest of the PB is fluff (non-news), of the human interest variety and seems to dominate the majority of space overall (other than ads). I am looking for depth and information. If I can't find it in the PB, I quickly look elsewhere.

I don't mind the layout of the online site. I find it quite easy to use. However, I dislike that it is not updated frequently. Seeing the same news stories still on the site for many days gives it a very stale feeling to me. The same is true for the ads. There is a banner ad still running today that is for "March Pub Madness". Good grief. We are nearly a week into April already.

As an educator, I also have trouble with the many errors. (I used to read the print edition with a red-pen in hand... it became a family joke.)

As a generally well-educated and concerned community, I feel that we deserve a paper that is high quality, with un-biased, well thought out articles and in-depth reporting.

I fully understand the problems of limited resources and shrinking ad dollars that are the plague of modern papers, but excellence in service to the community should still be the main goal of any paper.

I don't get the printed version except at work. We always pull the ads before putting the paper in the waiting area. I do like the online version but really have no gripes. I always go to the front page to look at "current" articles and then look for Jeffs blog and articles concerning business.

I also like the Answer Man articles. I also look at the obituaries to see who might have joined the big guy upstairs.

Overall, I like the online service. Yea the active ads are a pain at times but I am more then willing to deal with the ads so that we can look at the information on line.

While the general layout of the P-B site is fine, the home page needs to be simplified. It seems very cluttered with an excessive amount of headlines/articles and ads, which than cause problems with the page loading.

The print edition needs to include more ads on Saturdays. I have been very disappointed with the number of ads in the Saturday paper in recent weeks. There was once a time when the Saturday paper would be filled with ads, now there seems to be just a select few. What happened to the ads in the Saturday paper?

Used to read the print version all the time when I lived in Rochester. Stopped reading the print version a few years ago when they begin strangely formatting the World and US news.

Read ONLINE now since moving.

I always use online, for convenience and because I prefer computer to paper in general. I also don't like the drain on resources the "dead tree edition" is. The web site is very useful and probably my best source of information for local news. I use the RSS feeds to keep up with your blog, the Great Taste blog, Furst Draft blog, and top stories, local news. I do wish you had a breaking news rss feed, similar to what KTTC does now.

Also I find the small pictures frustrating. Not yours of course Jeff, yours are properly "zoomable", but the ones on the front page and always too small to be interesting.

I agree that the ads are anoying and I took Alan's suggestion and block them now. Much better.

I would say I get more out of the PB online than I did last year, mainly because of the various PB blogs.

And I'm an avid reader of the Answer Man. I like that there is someone who can help with those questions that are just beyond google's reach.

I prefer reading the print edition. I like to scan each page. I find it easier, more relaxing and it feels quicker to see the whole paper. It also loads quicker - I turn the page and it is there, no waiting.

One wish I have is that it be easier to search for articles. I have know the date of the article, the writer and the title of an article I wanted to send to sombody, but the search engine can't find it. I just typed in Answer Man. The first article listed was about the T-wolves Jefferson. The Answer Man column wasn't even in the 50 hits.

On that topic - Can the Answer Man column be given his own spot on the web?

I used to read the paper version, but stopped because it was too expensive for what it contains, and it would pile up unread, and I just didn't have time to go through it.

I do read the front page online, and some of the blogs, breaking news, and some of the other articles online. However, I think the PB's front page online should resemble a professional news page like other papers. Yours is over-burdoned with ads, and the very prominent Facebook link doesn't make the site look very professional.

I read the online edition during the day on breaks at work. I read the paper edition when I get my hands on it (we share a subscription with another family for cost savings and get it when they are done with it). I enjoy the paper version for the crossword, comics, and additional features not in the online version. I thoroughly enjoy the local feel of our newspaper and the multitude of human interest stories. I love Jen's World, Greg Sellnow's column, and all the "fluff" that so many others complain about. If the PB turned into a "big city newspaper", I would quit reading it. Right now it has a very good balance. Although I agree that the proofreading could be far better (and I'm not a teacher and don't use a red pen).

I never read the online version, ever.

Read the print daily, tho much is "wasted space fluff" ... but on the whole get much info from it, incl ads. the web site does not replace it.

Also check the web site ; here the ads are a absoluite nusance. I understand they pay the way, but still are worthless.

I also routinely check a couple out of state papers web sites... this is true value of web papers usually short and to the point; where print would be inpractical.

A lot has been said about the ads on the site.

What kinds of ads do you not mind? What ones bug you?

Just curious. Jeff's asking for feedback and it might help to identify the ads that are turn-offs

I used to get the print paper, but now only get the Sunday print paper since the weekdays seemed light on content. The online site is very slow and clunky. The home page is the worst, it seems to take forever to figure out how to format itself. I like the local news and sports.

Chris - I think its the "flash" ads or whatever they are called. The ads that cause the pages to load very slowly and freeze up your computer at times.

I have had problems with the pages loading in both Firefox and IE due to those ads.

It very well could be a programming bug too, but something causes the pages to load slowly and sometimes freeze your computer.

I got the print edition for over 30 years but have moved to getting my local news online. I liked the print edition but so much of it was just AP news stories that are available everywhere there wasn't enough local news to keep my subscription. I really like this and the other blogs as a way to stay in touch with current business news.

I actually don't mind the popup ads on your website as a way for you to get revenue, my only complaint is that the main page loads so slowly, especially on my phone but on my desktop too, that many times I get errors for the delays. I'll look to see if there is a mobile site version that I was not aware of but if there isn't that would be something to improve upon.

I cancelled my subscription to the PB several years back because the lack of editing drove me crazy. Too many times I noticed errors that the editors should've caught (to/too/two or their/they're or the use of their instead of his/her, etc). Petty, I know, but it drove me so crazy that I couldn't stand reading the paper. I now buy it occasionally when there's something specific I'm looking for, but I've noticed that the editing hasn't improved much.

I will occasionally read a story from the PB online, but -again - I'm frequently frustrated by the lack of editing. Really, it's almost shameful.

I read the Kiger updates online regularly because I enjoy knowing what's going on in town. I can "excuse" the type-os and grammatical errors because it's more of a blog without an editor to go behind you to fix mistakes. :)

This information probably doesn't help you, but there ya have it...

I read the print edition and the online edition. Usually I look up articles online that I found interesting in the print paper. I like to read the print version outside occasionally. I would read it online, but I already spend a significant portion in front of a screen, and don't see the need to make that portion even bigger. I also subscribe to the Kiger blog by RSS (the blog and the print column are probably two of the best things about the PB), and frequently read things that friends share with me online.

About the print version: I really like way the front page is now. No gimmicks, chock full of content. Only thing is, that's as far as I go a lot of the time. This could be improved by adding more "teasers" at the top of the page. I find that the sports coverage is good (especially Phersy and Feldy) but often far too much compared to the other sections. I also really like the Outdoors section on Thursdays, but wonder if it could be better edited.

About the site: it could really, really use a cosmetic update (especially the homepage and TypePad sections). For example, this comment thread utilizes between 1/3 and 1/2 horizontally of the page! Also, the search engine needs to prioritize the articles from today's paper without the user having to go though advanced search.

Bonus question on information: To paraphrase the lyrics of Switchfoot, we've got information in the information age, but what do we really know...

We get the weekend paper but would really like a morning edition. We're a busy family and if we can't read the paper early Saturday morning before leaving for the day/weekend, it usually gets recycled without being opened. I'd pay a couple dollars extra a month to get it earlier. We probably should just run to Kwik Trip to get it on the weekends.
We do read the online content daily but usually after KTTC and other local sources. PB's website usually only takes 5-10 minutes to read everything of interest-for us that's Kiger's, Answer Man, and top news.

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