The financial web site 24/7 Wall Street
has graded the web sites of the country's biggest newspapers. The New York Times
and San Francisco Chronicle
get well-deserved As. Cleveland.com
, the Plain Dealer's site, earns a C-, which seems about right. Granted, it's harder to hell to navigate, and sometimes when you're clicking around you accidentally stumble on an old Sam Fulwood story, which can really ruin up your day. But we went to public school, where they only give out Ds if you stab the teacher, so C- seems fair enough.
Here's 24/7 Wall Street's take: ...
The Cleveland Plain Dealer (Average daily paid circulation: 330,280) (Compete online audience for April: 694,328) Cleveland.com has a very low ratio of online readers to paid subscribers which almost certainly makes it harder for the internet site to contribute a great deal of revenue. The homepage is a bit jumbled, but the navigation is not difficult. The editors put their picks at the top of the page and then each major section is presented in order with headlines and photos. A column called "real time news" runs down the right side of the page and is confusing. The priorities of the editors are unclear as the two columns of news headlines compete with one another. The navigation tabs for each inside section do have a drop-down to show the readers what is in that section before they go there. This is a helpful guide to finding stories without having to wander around the website. Cleveland.com is another example of editors taking something that works well, the homepage lay-out and navigation, and abandoning it in the inside section. The local news page begins the confusion and the confusion continues in the entertainment section. Cleveland.com does a better job sticking to its easy-to-use pages in sports. But, a reader could go through the major sections of Cleveland.com and never know that they came from the same website. Grade: C-
-- Joe P. Tone