Reply with quote #1
As the election approaches we are all eager to keep on top of the news but I submit that we are poorly served by our online newspapers. I don't mind that they are partisan, that is common anywhere you go but the content and especially the layout of our online newspapers is disappointing.
These days there are a plethora of content management systems so at the very least the layout and display should be good.
As for content, most of the online papers only update once a week. I know that finances can be tight and advertising revenue probably does to cover the full operational costs but is this really the best we can do? The standard of English is what it is and I'm not complaining about that but it would be good to have more content, especially covering other topics like sports, regional news, a business section etc.
Is it just me?
Reply with quote #2
You are spot on. The quality of our online newspapers is poor in every respect.
Reply with quote #3
" know that finances can be tight and
advertising revenue probably does to cover the full operational costs but is this really the best we can do?" What else do you want to know, bro? That the readership is not there and as a result the advertising dollars are no where to be found? Lol! Let's face it not every "made in Sierra Leone" these days has a commercial value. We prefer foreign news, foreign soccer, foreign clothes, Nigerian music and heck Nigerian pastors. This brings me back to a previous conversation when I stated that candidate Bio does not have enough loopholes to close in order to bring in enough cash to pay for free primary and secondary education. There are not enough profit making entities in Sierra Leone to pay the taxes needed for government to be fully operational. We are a very poor country. To sustain free education to that magnitude will mean cuts from other government services.
Reply with quote #4
@KL, I hear what you are saying to some extent but if the you look at the Ghanaian and Nigerian online newspapers, they too cover foreign football but they give it a local perspective by for instance focusing on African footballers in the top leagues.
I've never run a newspaper so I don't want to be too critical and as you say, perhaps the ad revenue just isn't there from local businesses. However the likes of Google and many others pay per click for instance if you can drive traffic to their sites. Job placements and property pages, competitions with payment for entry etc. can all contribute but first you need compelling content that is regularly updated, preferably on a daily basis. I am assuming all these newspapers employ writers who are all required to generate daily articles?
Me Say No
Reply with quote #5
There are exceptions and we are just too naive to mention them because they are pro-apc and they gave a hell of a thrashing to Maada Bio - just search for Maada Bio on Google and you will get the gist.
Reply with quote #6
DMK wrote :
"As the election approaches we are all eager to keep on top of the news but I submit that we are poorly served by our online newspapers. I don't mind that they are partisan, that is common anywhere you go but the content and especially the layout of our online newspapers is disappointing........ I know that finances can be tight and advertising revenue probably does to cover the full operational costs but is this really the best we can do? The standard of English is what it is and I'm not complaining about that but it would be good to have more content, especially covering other topics like sports, regional news, a business section etc. " DMK, as a publisher of an online newspaper, I agree with you that we should do better in the area of updating our papers more frequently. This is because readers' appetite for news is becoming more insatiable in the INFOMANIA society we live in today. I also agree that we could be more diverse in the topics we cover, but there is a reason for our seeming obsession with political news . Our Sierra Leone society has become toooo politicized, so politicized and SLPP-APC- ultra-focussed that most of what people want to read today is politics. I run about six forums at Facebook and three Whatsapp media forums as well. Order than sex scandals, political news sells more than other aspects of news. The easiest way to go out of business is to minimize coverage of our dysfunctional political psychodrama. I have tried to write interesting feature articles on diverse topics in my forums, but few people click LIKE or discuss the issues embedded therein. They seem to have disproportional appetite instead for Ernest Koroma and Maada Bio news. The lure and power of social media are also affecting online newspapering. There is a deluge and glut in news in the social media. Except it is on sex, many people do not have time today to read your op/ed on culture, fashion, sports , etc. We made a study on this, using the statistical data of the number of views articles receive online. As for sports, you should know that worldwide marketing and TV coverage of the English Premier League and the migration of the top African soccer stars to Europe for lucrative contracts are systematically killing interest in local African soccer. According to complaints published in various African newspapers , much of the rooting our rampaging and restless youth do for soccer teams today is for the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea , Real Madrid or Barcelona. The obsession for once big names like Asante Kotoko, Hearts of Oak or Sekondi Hassacas ( Ghana), Enugu Rangers , Flash Tornadoes , Stationery Stores ( Nigeria ) , AFC Leopards, Gor Mahia ( Kenya ) , Mighty Barrolle, Invincible Eleven ( Liberia ) , Hafia, A.S. Kaloum, Gbessia ( Guinea) etc. etc. I will not mention Sierra Leone because we no longer have a soccer league. Mighty Blackpool, Red Roaring East End Lions , Real Republicans, Freetown United, Edwardians etc, whom we enjoyed as kids, no longer exist . If you look at the sports pages of African newspapers, all you read about now are news about teams in the EPL, La Liga , Bundesliga and what-have-you- abroad. In fact, sports-writing as a journalistic art, is dying out fast. Everything is stolen from the internet. CITIZEN JOURNALISM, where once passive consumers of news have now become the reporters and news providers , thanks to smart phones and the social media, is also taking the steam out of online newspapers. You may be disappointed that we do not update more because you may be gauging our performance against the speed and timeless with which members of the public provide news scoops on social media these days . You get most of your hot news now from consumers-turned-providers who stumbled upon news events and immediately send photos and reports to the social media. This is threatening the existence of print newspapers because they are no longer the primary source of information. News has become stale by the time it appears in print newspapers. We are also facing a shortage of committed , efficient and reliable reporters. Because there is such a tremendous influx of media ---Print, radio, TV--and media-related governance institutions and NGOs in Sierra Leone , most of the reliable reporters have been snapped up and are no longer interested in moonlighting for online newspapers. Some of them are now relatively well-paid and consider it beneath their station to work for online papers that might pay them $100 0r $150 at most. Their salary demands are much higher now. They want $500. In the distant past, they scrambled to get jobs from us , but today, they find our emoluments unattractive. I hired a reporter to be supplying COCORIOKO three news items a day at $200 monthly but when he was not copying newspapers in Freetown, he was either sending substandard reports OR missing deadlines . He was also unable to fulfill his 3 items a day quota and was full of excuses . I fired him. Another big problem today which we also did not have before is that even hosting companies have become greedy and exploitative. It is difficult to get quality hosting for a modest price, like $400 or $ 500 yearly, as it used to be. My paper is being hosted by two companies because I got tired of fighting with hosts over the paper being down always or being forced to lose websites through their carelessness. I pay one about $148 monthly and the other $ 100 a month. So you are looking at $2, 600 a year just for hosting, which is not sustainable. Sierra Leoneans do not pay for advertising in online newspapers so everything we spend is out of our pockets. Lastly, online editors do not do the job full time. We all have day jobs and one publisher is doing two jobs to make ends meet. Without helpers today ( Everybody wants to be paid ), some editors may be finding it difficult to update as frequently as they would have loved. However, we at COCORIOKO are planning to up our game for the electioneering campaign. We have changed our layout to make the paper more attractive and we have a frontpage slider that takes 12 news items in a go. I however agree with you that much needs to be done.
Reply with quote #7
Thank you @Kabs Kanu for taking the time to write an informative and thoughtful response. As I said, I am not a publisher so I appreciate the effort you and others make to provide this service even if we do find ourselves on opposite sides of the political divide.
http://cocorioko.net/ is one of the few which does actually have a very nice layout and a reasonable amount of content. You seem to be paying a lot though for your hosting. I host a couple of scientific websites and I think my wife would have something to say about it if I spent that amount on what is essentially a hobby for me. I notice that my former classmate Sylvia Blyden no longer publishes online, at least not at the URL I had http://www.news.sl/. Maybe all the cool kids are over on Facebook and I need to catch up!
Reply with quote #8
“ I hired a reporter to be supplying COCORIOKO three news items a day at $200 monthly but when he was not copying newspapers in Freetown, he was either sending substandard reports OR missing deadlines . He was also unable to fulfill his 3 items a day quota and was full of excuses . I fired him. ” - Rev Kabs
I don’t mean to criticize you my friend, but did you really expect him to do any better for that salary?
Reply with quote #9
For three news items a day ? Yes. we promised to raise his salary , if he excelled.
Reply with quote #10
"I notice that my former classmate Sylvia Blyden" DMK
Wow!! Small world. DMK, would you mind stating where you were classmates with Sylvia Blyden?
Reply with quote #11
@Magnus, we did 6th form together at POW, I believe she did O levels at Anny Walsh while I came from AA.
Reply with quote #12
Thanks DMK. I thought you met her at COMAHS.