Saturday, June 09, 2007


I know they're still ironing out details and whatnot, but I really don't like the way the new WNYMedia site looks.

1. I don't like the colors. I have no great objection to light text on a dark background; my own blog had such a color scheme for a large chunk of its early existence, after all. But the colors they've chosen are unpleasant to my eyes.

2. I don't like how every post that's longer than a couple of lines now goes to a "after the cut" type of thing. In fact, I've never been a big fan of "Read the rest of this post" widgets on any blog, but seems to be applying it to every post on any of its blogs that's literally more than three or four lines long.

2a. As of this writing, there's not even a "Click here for the rest of the post" link. You're supposed to automatically know to click the post's permalink to bring up the whole thing.

3. And my big complaint is that WNYMedia now forces a single blog template upon each of its member blogs. Frankly, this cuts down a great deal on the sense of individuality amongst the blogs there. Now, this isn't some new thing they've done; large media organizations that have numerous blogs under their imprints all tend to use roughly the same templates between them -- good examples are all the Buffalo News blogs, or Andrew Sullivan, Matthew Yglesias and the rest of the pros at The Atlantic. But the thing is that little word, pros. These are all professional journalists who are being paid to blog by a larger media company, so it makes perfect sense that those companies would want some branding going on. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but it's my understanding that the WNYMedia bloggers are not professionals, and thus I see no earthly reason why every one of their blogs should have to look the same. For a media outlet that has in the past indicated that "independence" is its great strength, this degree of conformity being exerted on its members, in my opinion, hurts the experience.

Welcome back, I guess.


Erin said...

I agree, Kelly. I'm more and more glad I decided to stay independent!

Roger Owen Green said...

I agree about the cuts. Unless the pieces are quite long, I think they're annoying. The light on dark is OK because the font's OK, but in general, my eyes see the dark on light better.

Anonymous said...

The ads show up much better on the dark background. Before I never really noticed them. I don't want to notice them now.

I suppose we'll get used to the conformity of it all, or we'll gradually quit checking in as often.

All Things Jennifer said...

The one good thing about being a part of a network of users, is that these little tweaks here and there can be worked out, it took a while to get up...(server issues) but the up is just the beginning...still a work in progress.

Being a part of WNYMEDIA also allows contributors access to press credentials which allows us writers to take on a more professional role in the organization.

A balance will need to be struck between protecting the brand of the individual bloggers voice...and the larger goal of being an integral part of the whole, "an organization that speaks to power with one voice and advocates for progress and positivity in our region."

And that's why I signed on in the first place.

Anonymous said...

What is it that makes Byzantium's Shores an interesting read? Is it the header image or is it the content that you regularly provide?

Your unique blog voice is what brings people to the site and they would come regardless as to the style of the page. How do I know this? Because I absolutely loathe the design of this page, but I visit regularly and I enjoy reading what you have to say. :-)

I think there is a general misconception as to what we are building at WNYM. We are not establishing ourselves as a webhost for community blogs, that's the business model for YourHub over at The Buffalo News.

We are building a credentialed, new media outlet that serves to replace the community newspapers that are dying all over the region.

From our About page:

The Western New York Media Network is an online micronews outlet which enables regional, political and cultural progress by providing a platform for you to:

* Advocate for causes you believe in

* Entertain the reader with fun and viral content

* Inform people about news, events and organizations that are shaping the region in which they live

* Opinionate on the news and issues of the day

* Unite people with a common cause

Our mission is simple, to make our city and region a better place to live by making positive contributions which affect real and significant change.

We don't want to simply advertise the good works of others, we want to join them and to inspire others to join us!

We serve as a means to build a bridge between what Buffalo is today and what it can be in the future.

We don't believe in Old Buffalo or New Buffalo...we believe in Our Buffalo, a city and region with a brilliant history and a limitless future.

Anonymous said...

Also, our bloggers will share in any ad revenue realized from the placement of ads on our site.

We need to pay the bills and we need to compensate our writers if we are making money from their efforts.

If we sell an ad on the page, the blogger receives 20% of the revenue.

If the blogger sells the ad, we receive 20% of the revenue.

I think that's a pretty fair deal.

We also provide press passes, credentials, and connections to events and organizations around the region.

Joining the network is a means to make a difference and have it magnified.

Also, 10% of all money generated on the WNYM front is donated to local charities. For details, check out our "Advertise Here" section.

Of course, our bloggers are free to leave at any time without penalty and we'll support their endeavours, wherever they may post.

Anonymous said...

I like the design of this page :)

Kelly Sedinger said...

Becky: Thanks!

Chris: I never said that a masthead image is a reason for returning. But like it or not, WNYMedia is a webhost for community blogs. There are a number of member blogs that have about as much to do with Buffalo activism as I do, and I've been told in the past that I'd be welcome to join as well. Why would someone like me have been welcome in a "new media outlet" that is looking to "replace" newspapers? Any cursory glance at my blog will reveal that my interests are about as far from "citizen journalism" as it gets.

I find this hard to jibe with forcing a generic look across all the member blogs, having a mission statement that refers to united visions and whatnot, and whatever it is that Jen quotes above about "speaking with one voice to power".

(I'm also not sure why you felt it necessary to discuss ad revenue, since I didn't bring it up and have never had a problem with blogs that advertise or post ads from other sources.)

Kelly Sedinger said...

Folks, I'm closing the comments to this post now, since I can't see any way that any further comment on the subject avoids the appearance (or reality) of me throwing rocks at WNYM, which isn't what I'm trying to do. I'm still disappointed with their new design, I expressed that disappointment, and that's that. If anyone really wants to delve further into this, my e-mail addresses are available in the sidebar. Thanks.

(And I'm still as loyal a reader of the WNYM blogs that I've always been, just in case anyone's thinking I'm boycotting them. I'm not.)