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Friday, October 20, 2006

The Weekly Post

This week it's Magog Nights from Candleblog, which you can read by clicking on the link, or flipping to the Letters to the Editor section of this week's Seven Days.

When I emailed Bill Simmon to tell him I'd selected a post from his blog, he thanked me, and sent this critique of the weekly post feature:

It's a great idea, but the implementation is weird.  This post is a great example, actually.  The last sentence, where I wrote "She did, however, treat me like a king," makes absolutely no sense unless you follow the linked words "treat me like a king" to the BJ snowden song "In Canada," which contains those lyrics.  Print's lack of hyperlinks makes the translation not really work. 
Also, it's a little ironic that the one part of the letters page that's not reproduced online is the part that's about the web. I'm just sayin'...

I agree with Bill's assessment, but I don't have a solution. Unfortunately, we can't expand the column to explain the hyperlinks. And it would sort of kill the joke to explain it, I think.

As for not being reproduced online, I think the idea was that the post would be reproduced, or at least noted, here on this blog, instead of being on the actual online letters page. Maybe that's faulty logic, though. I know it keeps the online paper audience from actually seeing the post, which is unfortunate. Not sure if that's critical, though, as my real point with it is to introduce the print readers to content they can find on the web.

Anybody have any thoughts about this? We haven't tinkered with this column since we introduced it a year or so ago. Should I suggest some changes? If so, what should we change?

PS — BJ Snowden is back in town this Saturday, to share her quirky songs about Canada. She's at Langdon Street Cafe in Montpelier at 4, and at Radio Bean in Burlington at 8.

October 20, 2006 at 09:29 AM in The Weekly Post | Permalink


I basically think it just limits the type of posts you can reasonably put in the paper. Posts that are link heavy are out. Certainly no linkdumps. Your other points all make sense. Maybe an obvious link to your "weekly post" at 802 on the web letters page for the online readers? That wouldn't take up as much room. Have you been getting any feedback from the print readers about te feature? Is anyone making the leap from print to web because of it?

Posted by: Bill Simmon | Oct 20, 2006 12:25:17 PM

I think as long as the weekly post contains some writing that's interesting -- it stands on its own in print, too -- it's OK to include hyperlinks without the clicking on them. Typically, if a weekly post interests me in 7D, I'll go check it out online with the expectation that it'll probably have links. The weekly post seems to try to offer a taste of what's out there and pique interest. That being said, here's a silly idea: You know the concept of "inset boxes" within pictures? Maybe you could, like, include inset boxes with the weekly post (in print) that show what the hyperlink leads to. It could floating off to the side or something, with an arrow connecting the hyperlink with the inset box. Just a thought.

As an aside, I was talking about this with my editor the other day, because we have a new columnist/ blogger starting up. I mused, vaguely, whether we'll one day see printed "pages" that somehow allow you to interest with links. Apparently, the Providence Journal tried something where they printed bar code-like things in print, that could be "read" by a mouse, which was linked up to your computer. It failed miserably.

Posted by: Scott Monroe | Oct 20, 2006 12:59:21 PM

I'm not sure if people are making the leap from print to web because of it. It's impossible to tell unless we hear from people, and I haven't heard much of anything.

I do think people are reading the posts, though. Just not sure if they're also going to see them online.

I generally try not to include anything that doesn't stand on its own...

I like the inset boxes idea. I'll look into it.

Posted by: cresmer | Oct 20, 2006 1:23:23 PM

Of course in this case the link was to an mp3. I just don't see how it would translate, even with insets. You could print the lyrics but then the joke REALLY doesn't work.

Someday we'll all be reading newspapers on smart paper that supports video and hypelinks and stuff. Now where the hell are my shades?

Posted by: Bill Simmon | Oct 20, 2006 9:17:22 PM


I once got an e-mail from someone who said he saw my blog post in Seven Days and went online to check it out.

I should have thought to let you know that.

Posted by: Charity | Oct 21, 2006 9:08:58 PM

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