Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fairfax rolls out new web format across its New England papers

As part of its move to digital, Fairfax has been progressively rolling out its new standard web format across its New England papers. The Armidale Express web site is an example. It's quite a clean format, but oh so standardised - cross platform, to use the jargon.

The biggest change I noticed because it affects me, is the complete absence of any form of broader regional linkages. This used to occur in two ways: via links to other papers in the immediate local area plus a link at the top that allowed you to follow through and check all Rural Press newspapers. This was invaluable to me in terms of my monitoring of stories across New England. Both have gone.

All the papers are now introducing e-editions as well. I don't have a problem with this. However, I do fear that the end result will be loss of access to content.

Overall, I fear that the end result will be further fragmentation within New England, the continued chopping up of the place into little bits. What do you think? 


macAlba said...

Initial thoughts:

The Armidale Express online user registration page requires that I enter my location as a suburb - how very city-centric of them (given they're publishing regional newspapers). There's no way that I can type "Metz" and think of it as a suburb.

Further, if they're keen to sign up readers as online subscribers then, at a minimum, they should publish a free sample edition.

Fairfax doesn't even pretend to be publishing an Armidale-only paper given that the email address for subscriptions belongs to Tamworth's Northern Daily Leader.

Jim Belshaw said...

Good lord, Gordon. I hadn't spotted the suburb bit. Metz is hardly a suburb of Armidale. And what about Uralla!

The idea of a free sample is a good one that Fairfax should take up. It's pretty obvious, but again I hadn't thought about it.

On the NDL, I see your point.