Obscure Box

Thoughts from inside the obscure box

May 28, 2008

What's wrong with the front page?

Posted by : Michael Lund
Filed under : Media, Print

I'm trying to read today's Australian newspaper and I'm getting lost.

The Australian

The Australian

The main story on the front page is about Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the ACCC fuel advice. All very interesting stuff.

But the story continues on page 6 and that's a long way through the newspaper so I started to read another front page story about an independent petrol station owner.

He appears to be having problems competing with the big fuel companies.

I say appears, as his story also continues on page 6.

So I started to read the front page story about the $100,000 payout to the Palm Island cop.

That story continues on page 8!

So I started to read the front page story about ASIO and the Soviets. That story continues over the page on page 2, so I followed that one.

By the time I'd read it though I forgot why I was supposed to turn to pages 6 and 8.

What The Australian is trying to do is make me read more than just the front page. I can do that in a newsagents if I'm quick, but that doesn't help sales.

By making me turn to an inside page, the belief is that I'm captured; I will read on.

I used to work for newspapers where the front page stories always continued on page 2. A great picture story on page 3 would make me read on and keep the pages turning

Today the trend is to have front page stories continue on pages deep inside the newspaper and every-time I encounter this I get lost. I forget where I was, I miss pages. (What's on The Australian's paged 4 and 5 I wonder?)

Sometimes stories leap from an inside page to another page deeeper inside. Again, I get lost.

Reading news on the web is a lot easier to navigate.

The trouble there, though, is that I tend to read fewer stories from a particular news organisation as I do when I read their newspaper (even though I miss certain pages).

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All thoughts and comments here are the honestly held personal opinion of Michael Lund and are based on the information available at the time of publication.