MinnPost.com Pre-Launch Tech Revisit

I feel like offering some unsolicited advice to MinnPost.com. If you’re not into techie web stuff, just move on now.

Last week, I mentioned that MinnPost.com’s pre-launch site’s lack of an RSS feed was kind of scary considering how important RSS is to the news hounds the site is apparently targeting.

This led to a quick response from Matt Grey in the comments, pointing to the RSS feed and mentioning that it was available from the News page of the site.

Less than a week later, here is what I’m seeing:

1. The initial press release was added to the RSS feed, but truncated. Not sure why.

2. A story was published to the RSS feed today, but was slightly truncated. Not sure why.

3. A progress report was published to the site on 8/27, but never showed up in the RSS feed. Not sure why.

4. The Featured Journalists and MinnPost Press articles on MinnPost.com never made it into the RSS feed. Not sure why.

5. The “news” section has been renamed “Progress” and the RSS feed is no longer available from that section.

6. New sections, Press and Journalists, have been added, and do not have discoverable RSS feeds.

7. There is no permalink to the 9/4 progress report.

8. Or the 8/27 progress report.

9. The 9/4 progress report isn’t available under the “Progress” section of the site.

10. It’s strange how few blog write-ups of the MinnPost.com announcement have made the press page. Compare the press page to Google’s results for the term “Minnpost.com” to get a feel for this. Where’s Chuck Olson, Charles Quimby, or MNSpeak, to name just three? As far as I can tell, unless the write-up came from either the online side of a traditional media site or the blog of a media insider, it didn’t make the cut.

This all may seem picky, but it raises what I see as legitimate concerns about their understanding of web technologies and the role of blogging in online journalism.

BTW, if MinnPost.com is looking for an easy way to fix most of the stuff listed above, here’s how to do it:

1. Install WordPress. It’s free.
2. Slap the current logo into a comparable WordPress theme.
3. Copy/paste the current stories into WordPress.
4. Set a 301 redirect from the current feed’s location to MinnPost.com/feed/

Less than 2 hours of work and you’ll have a platform that’s probably easier to use and will scale nicely between now and the launch of the site. I’d also consider using that as a permanent press center at the domain minnpost.com/blog

4 thoughts on “MinnPost.com Pre-Launch Tech Revisit”

  1. I’ve been following MinnPost pretty closely for awhile. I look forward to the writing. I like many of the journalists.

    …but they’re not going to be any better or that much different than a StarTribune.com, CityPages.com, TwinCities.com or MPR’s news pages. They seem open to new technology but at the heart they don’t really get it. From everything I’ve seen and heard, I don’t think they have anyone working for them that knows how to capture loyalty online as well as getting organic visitors.

    …and http://minnpost.com/ doesn’t even work. Heh.

    I also thought it was strange that the images are left out of the RSS feed as well as the truncation. WTH?

    Granted, they haven’t launched yet. So I’ll give them more slack until they launch. They seem rather promising for a newspaper, but they don’t seem very promising to be an online media organization.

  2. Seems to me they are trying to make online world work like a newspaper instead of the other way around. Wake up Minnpost, take some of that seed money and hire REAL web talent. The internet has matured and ‘content is king’ will only get you so far without the proper online platform and surrounding web mechanisms in place.

    You MIGHT have the content, but you definitely do not have the right website. If you do not hire online people who know how to showcase it, you still lose.

    Deets, remember in our old SEM days when a submission would come in for some website that had a great product and solid online niche, and we would get excited by the potential and knock their doors down with marketing ideas…

    …Only to find out that all our suggestions were being routed from Uncle Bob (who was the money and product guy) to nephew Jerry (who was the ‘web guy’)…

    …And the web guy only knew (insert your MN nice verbal assessment of some archaic html software here)…

    …And Jerry would refuse to accept any of our SEM marketing advice–because he didn’t know how to (insert your MN nice assessment for his lack of website talent here) do that with his software, but he wasn’t (ditto) smart enough to admit his limitations and instead he would just say our ideas stunk…

    …And Bob was too (insert your MN nice assessment of his lack of business acumen here) to realize his website was worthless with Jerry as the webmaster…

    …Then 180 days later when we would do our followups, we would find out the website no longer existed and the product was no where to be found (online or elsewhere)?

    Yeah, that is what this reminds me of. A great idea with solid online potential, but in the hands of (insert your MN nice assessment here) people who are unwilling to learn from experts in the field, or implement suggestions even when they are pointed out to them.

    But, why should we care, eh? It is not like anyone’s job is depending on this Minnpost website, right?

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