Throughout the quarter, I’ve tended to focus on individual multimedia projects by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette rather than broader areas such as social media and web layout. In this, my final critique of the publication, I will share my more general observations of and suggestions for the paper’s online operation.
For starters, I am not a fan of the paper’s homepage, or the majority of its website, for that matter. The rainbow-colored tabs at the top are cheesy and remind me of USA TODAY, which is able to pull off the maneuver much more effectively. The Post-Gazette recently redesigned its website, and in the process got away from its old format, which I thought was cleaner and more in line with the paper’s print product. By clicking on the “PHOTO” tab, viewers can see how the website used to look. It’s better, isn’t it? (As for why the photo section hasn’t been updated to match the rest of the redesign, all I can say is, well, who knows?) Furthermore, the Post-Gazette’s homepage is too lengthy and organized poorly. As you scroll down, you’ll see that different sections are sort of slapped on there haphazardly — the use of space is inefficient, almost irresponsible.
As for social media, I like what the Post-Gazette is doing with Twitter and Facebook. Both accounts are updated throughout the day, and on Facebook viewers are treated to pictures and videos in addition to the promotion of stories. They’re even encouraged to get involved, as the Post-Gazette regularly asks its audience for opinions via Facebook. The Twitter account is more simple, mainly used for sharing news items, but that’s just the nature of the medium. Many of the paper’s writers have personal Twitter handles, as well. In this area, the Post-Gazette has done good work and seems to be on the right track.
The same can be said about the entity’s multimedia work. There are plenty of videos on the Post-Gazette’s website, and while few of them are truly great, none of them are of a regrettable quality. The more videos that are produced, and the more skilled their producers become, the better it will be for the newspaper’s online presence. Photography has never been an issue for this publication, but I’m all for throwing more slideshows up on the website.
In concluding, I’d just like to say that I commend the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for attempting so fiercely to adapt its online presence and stay relevant in the ever-changing journalism landscape. As the top of the print product reads, this truly is one of America’s great newspapers. It seems determined to stick around, no matter what financial challenges might impede its progress. The effort is there, as is the sense of urgency. With further innovation and an aversion to stagnancy, I think the Post-Gazette will continue to have an impact for a long time.