Some friends and colleagues (because I totally have ‘colleagues’) have been giving me crap about the tone and content of my recent blog posts. Here’s a picture of my dog Cash as a puppy. I am going to consider it even. Later Gators!
First off : Oh hi!
Secondly, you may be wondering what this post’s title is all about. In fact, that may be the only reason you’re reading this right now. If so, did you see the sweet Photoshop job up there?
Moving on : There are a few reasons I am blogging tonight. Here are said reasons in a list-type format :
- I like you.
- I finished off the remaining 3 of the 6. (Anchor Steam for the curious.)
- The newly redesigned Omaha.com launched today.
- The t-shirt I am wearing is WAY too small…wait…what was that last one?
That’s right everyone! PREPARE TO HAVE YOUR SIMPLE MIDWESTERN MINDS ABSOLULTEY BLOWN BY THE POWER OF TECHNOLOGY, BOXES & DROPSHADOWS!
Oh sorry. For that to happen you have to click here.
Funny thing is, on a Tuesday much like today (Tuesday, December 16, 2008 at 11:24 AM to be exact) I wrote Omaha.com about their last clusterfuck of a “website.” See my letter below :
So…it’s 2008. You guys know that right? Having a message stating “This site is best viewed in…” is ridiculous. Firefox is a great browser, but do you understand the amount of people you alienate by having a blanket statement like that in the footer of every one of your pages?
Also, your site’s navigation is ridiculous. You’re lucky your search box is available…however, it does not save your site from itself. It literally just took me 10 minutes to find a story that happened in Bellevue on Monday night. MONDAY NIGHT WAS YESTERDAY!!!!
Omaha.com has been ridiculous for 6+ years and I don’t expect much from you guys. However, it would be refreshing if, the main online news outlet for omaha actually did something cutting edge.
First you need to play catchup of course. But why not look at site’s like salon.com, newsvine.com, or even cnn.com for godsake. Do better, be current, stop sucking and hiding your news and figure out a better way to show advertising on your site. Everything is way too spread out and jumbled. I assume your lack of maintenance or web pioneering is due to the fact that you do not want to stop people from getting your print newspaper. Probably because you spent so much on your facility and new printing presses a few years ago. But here’s a clue, PRINT IS DYING. Take note of the New York Times / Washington Post and their associated websites.
This site seems to have a bad case of “well, just put it here. No one will care.” But they do. And your site is a joke amongst the local web design community. Trust me.
Just because we’re in omaha, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t break out of your shell of conservatism and do something ground-breaking. Why do you want to be “the norm” anyways?
The reply I received (at 12:37 PM) went like this :
Thanks for your comments; I’m glad you got a chance to vent. We have actually just started a complete site redesign, which will be live in spring of 2009. We look at all of our comments from visitors to try and make our site better, so I will pass this along to our developers. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to share them.
Thanks again and I hope you stick with us while we work through our redesign.
~ Omaha.com Online Operations Specialist
(Now, 6 months later, the hard part)
I am sorry that I did not share any suggestions beyond the original suggestions from my original letter. The person who wrote me, in turn, did not have any suggestions to pass on to their developers (as she said she would) and this is the obvious reason the redesigned Omaha.com is a complete atrosity. I hope you will forgive me soon Omaha. As I will forgive you for having a newspaper whose head is up it’s ass. That is all.
You may wonder why I brought Doc Brown into this mess. Well…I hear he has a car that can do amazing things at 88 miles per hour. So amazing in fact, that I think he just might be our ticket back to a somewhat…(slightly) more decently presented and kind of okay (sometimes) omaha.com (circa last week-ish). Who’s with me?!
Mr. Wilson ::
Thank you for returning my letter. It is interesting that I sent this exact letter to KPTM’s firstname.lastname@example.org email address a week before messaging it to KPTM via Facebook and did not hear anything. Even though my letter was slightly ‘mean-spirited’ as you put it, I had hoped to at least get a response back that addressed the issue I was reporting.
Unfortunately I did not.
However, with your letter, you got the ‘contact me back’ part down, but again, my issue was simply addressed as “the HD situation” and never spoken about beyond that.
In case the problem has been lost in our digressions, I’ve included my main problem below :
I have a widescreen HDTV (as I am sure many of your users do) when the Children’s Hosptal ‘Time Box’ Ad comes out from the left of the screen it causes the widescreen format of your shows (like American Idol for instance) to switch to a vertical letterbox format. Also the sound cuts out which, when watching any show (but especially one about singing!) is absolutely annoying and extremely unprofessional. Then, the stupid clock stays there for 10 seconds and it all happens again when the program ‘cuts’ back to widescreen mode. Can you really, in 2009, not figure out a way to do this WITHOUT program interruption?
That is all I want fixed.
I am not interested in your life or why you do what you do or how your family gets fed because, quite honestly, my letter never should have reached you in the first place. And just because I slammed your news show (from outside your target audience I assume) I get a letter back from the lead anchor that gives me life advice because, instead of addressing my issue, you wanted me to better understand where you are coming from.
Look, of course I am a person (as you put it), but you must understand that I am first and foremost, KPTM’s customer. My CUSTOMER opinion of KPTM is not a good one. That is why I wrote the letter the way I did. That is also why I wrote it never expecting a reponse.
Regardless, I know enough to understand that, at the time of concern (during KPTM’s Children’s Hospital ‘Time Box’ ad), there is someone manually making that logo appear and switching the video feed format to get it on my screen. Then, a few seconds later, they reverse that process and switch the video format back to the live HD feed for American Idol. Each time of course, the sound of the live feed cuts out.
I also know that, if you have enough pride and love for the work you do and the station you do it at, you would find this as unacceptable as I do.
I do believe you have passion for your job Mr. Wilson. And I hope you have enough to walk into Master Control tomorrow (before Idol airs of course) and see if there is anything they can do about this problem. My gut says there is someone in that room that can make this better or offer up a solution to at least make it tolerable (a.k.a. No sound loss).
In closing, I don’t need a response back from you Mr. Wilson. I can imagine you are a very busy man and don’t have time to get caught up in massive amounts of open dialogue with customer’s (outside your market segment).
However, I do have one more (rhetorical) question for you:
What’s in an award? I’ve won awards and they do not define me or make me any better at what I do. I think the focus (for me anyway) always needs to come back to ‘Why am I doing this and how can I do it better?’ I hope that is the case for you as well. And if it is, prove it. And when you do, tell the boys in Master Control hello for me.
I will be watching American Idol tomorrow night in hopes that, even the lamest dreams can be achieved in this wondrous land we call America. Even dreams about television stations that don’t do stuff super janky. The wait begins! Later gators!
After I emailed my letter to KPTM, I did not hear anything at all. By happenstance, I came across their Facebook page and linked them to my newest blog post about the situation.
A couple hours later I received the following message from lead anchor Taylor Wilson :
Taylor Wilson here…
Completely understand where you’re coming from on the HD situation. We’re working on it. Personally not the biggest fan of Funnytown, but I know a lot of people who love them.
Anyway, had a chance to check out your blog and just wanted to share some of my thoughts. Like I said, I understand your frustration with certain things, but maybe turn the tables for a second. Imagine you work here and it’s your job and it’s how you feed your family and you’re doing what you love. Then you see the mean-spirited blog written about your work. How would that feel? I’m a person just like you, and I’ll tell you how it feels. Not good. Why would you want to spend your time disparaging someone when you could do the exact opposite?
I know you don’t watch our news much, but our Heartland Proud franchise was just honored by the Associated Press with five awards. They all air in high definition – the only locally produced news content in HD. The stories air Monday and Sunday nights at 9:00.
I’m not looking to get into an argument, just maybe an open dialog where you can better understand where I’m coming from.
My reponse to come shortly.