Globe politics site fails on many levels

The new Globe and Mail politics portal that was launched in advance of the election announcement is an incredible effort and represents some major resources. However, it fails on several levels.

First, it does not fully utilize the interactive features available. It is heavily moderated (which is understandable), but the subject matter seems regulated to what the Globe thinks is important or the political campaigns define as the issues. There does not seem to be a lot of places where ordinary voters can raise issues. And, no obvious commitment by editorial staff to follow up on any issues that get suggested by the audience. Why not let part of the coverage become generated by the audience? Like traditional newspaper products, it seems like a lot of information is presented (which is great); but, it is all from the news organization. Why couldn’t there be a section where people could write in from their ridings about the local issues that are important. Each riding could be listed and users could go to see what their neighbours are saying is important. I see this as a huge lost opportunity.

It also is using the same talking heads and elite sources for blogs and special sections (Strategists corner, etc.). Where are the every day people who could make a regular contribution.

And then there is the stupid polls. When will we ever give up the horserace mentality? Sure, a couple of polls. But it is the first day!

Next, there is no convergent media. As of Sunday (Sept. 8) evening, it is mainly text and images. This overall Globe website works mainly in multiple media (the juxtaposition of text, images, audio and video), not multimedia (the blending of content into a single form that uses text, images, audio and video combined through a platform like Flash to tell a story). The multimedia section consists of a pathetic photo gallery of political cartoons. Also, considering the Globe is part of the CTV network, we should be able to get live streams of events, like the announcement. There should be a ton of video from reporters. How about audio files of interviews with clips? Hell, they could put up the raw interviews as podcasts so we can hear exactly what was said. There is nothing like this.

Also, there is no hyperlinking between related stories or external information that would be useful to users. The arrogance to think they are the only source of information is beyond anyone who is truly trying to create a modern news website. Again, we see the traditional attitudes towards journalism migrated online.

We should also see original documents. Where were the full-text, original speeches from today’s campaign launch from each party? It does not take a huge amount of resources to post a copy as a PDF. The Globe gets access to a huge amount of paper from all sides. Why not make it available to everyone in relation to stories covered?