February 09, 2003
OK, that's a good reason

In my last entry, I took a potshot at the Chron's letters page:

When they print a letter that's in response to a news article, editorial or prior letter, would it kill them to link to the original piece? At least news articles are searchable on their site without having to go into the archives, but everything on the op-ed pages disappears the next day unless you bookmark it. This seems like such a no-brainer to me.

This prompted the following response from my buddy Matt in the comments:

As the former head of technology at chron.com, I'll give you the answer.

It wouldn't kill them (of course), but it would require a human editor to do by hand and would be too much work to be worth doing.

Let's do some back-of-the-envelope estimates. The editor would have to look up the URL for the original letter, then make the link. This might take a few minutes per letter - say three. The Chron prints perhaps fifteen letters per day. That's 45 minutes of editor time per day, or about 5 1/2 hours per week - about one fourth of a full time employee.

This work could be justified if there were enough additional advertising revenue to support it, and there wasn't something more valuable for those editors to do. With Internet advertising being what it is these days, you can certainly understand why there aren't links there.

That's a fair answer. I admit, I hadn't given any real thought to the logistics. So I retract that criticism.

Now if they'd only let op-ed page stuff be searchable on the main site for as long as the average news story is, I'd be really happy.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 09, 2003 to Other punditry | TrackBack

I'm not sure what your fixation is on "reading" and "paying attention to" that rag is...

Posted by: R. Alex on February 11, 2003 8:47 AM

Well, until someone resurrects the Houston Post, it's the only game in town.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on February 11, 2003 12:01 PM

Hmmm... maybe I'm an unpatriotic Houstonian? I get most of my info on Houston from the TV news sites and only those Chron articles that people point me to.

Posted by: R. Alex on February 12, 2003 1:58 PM