A few things are becoming clear about the new Star-Advertiser and its website:

  • Breaking news is not a priority on the web. The site is static. This morning as I write there are two items in the Latest News/Updates box on the front page. You can’t subscribe to an RSS feed for breaking news. The rest of the page is static. It’s essentially the paper put online, the way newspapers were doing the Web say 10 years ago. My gut is that the revenue is in print right now and the focus of the new company has to be to keep and grow all that revenue. (By the way, I’m sympathetic to the challenges of launching a new website. Except that in this case the owners had a website to build on, the old Star-Bulletin site, so I think it’s fair to have expected something better out of the box. Why wouldn’t the owners want to dominate breaking news the way they’ll dominate the printed page?)

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  • If you don’t believe me how little attention is given to breaking news. Check out the site’s breaking news page. There was nothing on it last night. There’s nothing on it this morning.

Thursday night:

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Friday morning:

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  • The approach to presentation in the newspaper is a tabloid in a broadsheet dress. I’m familiar with the approach because I produced a tabloid in Denver that every Saturday had to appear as a broadsheet. I think a strength of the Star-Bulletin was packaging, and we’re seeing that carried over into the Star-Advertiser. But the long wire stories inside can give the feeling that the paper has too much space and is just “filling” it.

  • A big improvement is that the paper has three pages of commentary now. But it would be great to see more local contributors to those pages.

Share your thoughts on the newest journalism enterprise in Honolulu in our one-paper town discussion.

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