Continuing in the series...
This week it's eyes on WTOP. WTOP dominates the airwaves as the primary newsradio station in the DC area. You'd be better off just listening to WAMU, but that's neither here nor there. WTOP owns newsradio in this town, and they also pretend to own the Internets. In fact, in case you missed it (which you can't miss, because it's plastered on every story), WTOP won "the coveted Edward R. Murrow Award for electronic journalism excellence for this website, WTOPnews.com."
Again, like with NBC4, we have a news organization with considerable resources available to cover local news. WTOP brags about their web coverage, to the extent of making everyone painfully aware of the fact that they won a "coveted award." Oh, WTOP, thou shalt not covet thy own awards. This is worse than when DCist wrote a post about their music editor being one of Northern Virginia's most eligible singles.
So, WTOP, since you have such amazing resources and spend, I don't know, all day covering local news, why can't you put some of that information on your site? Is it because you want me to listen to your radio station instead? That's a noble goal, but you've certainly got enough advertising on your web site that driving some more traffic to it wouldn't be such a bad thing. Why is it so hard for a highly esteemed local news source such as WTOP to even come close to say, the City Paper when it comes to coverage of local politics on the Internet?
What WTOP lacks in quality or correct spelling, it does make up for in hilarious comments. Take this gem from "dik" on a story on the Maryland Senate wanting to take guns away from domestic violence offenders.
Every divorce lawyer advises the "wronged woman" to immediately file a restraining order and claim abuse. This will quickly get out of control. Just another back door tactic to take firearms out of the hands of law abiding citizens. Do you really think only men are the cause of divorce? With the 'Bama in office, the Peoples Republic of Maryland will only become more socialist. Note: communist countries don't allow citizens to possess firearms. Can any of you sleep well at night?
This is generally the trend of comments, mostly from people out in the sticks who recently discovered that they could get satellite Internet in their bunkers. People like "The Original Joe S." who write things such as:
assault weapons are regulated by the firearms act of 1934. Again, you are spewing forth LIB-A-RAL horse shirt. You continue to bleat the control-freak mantra. We need the guns to kill the control freaks when it becomes too much to bear their horse shirt.
In earlier times in some places they used to apply a red-hot piece of iron to the tongue of the constant liar. Some traditions, sadly, have not survived.....
I wish we could get this guy to come over here and comment, really.
How difficult is it to maintain a web site that provides useful information gleaned by a staff of professional reporters. How hard is it to package a story for the web, and place it online? Why has the bar been set so low that WTOP's web site wins awards? Why can't you stream your station in a way that doesn't require a Microsoft download and an entire page with instructions on how to set it up? I know times are hard for news outlets, but there's no reason why WTOP, or NBC, or WJLA shouldn't be able to emerge as a leader on the web for news. Psst, DC media, this isn't 2001. Your web sites suck. You're getting beat by bloggers at your own game. This isn't just about hyper-local coverage. This is about the bread and butter of local news. Radio ain't going to live forever, I hate to say. Get with the game WTOP.
WTOPNews.com today can claim yet another award. I am bestowing upon their web site the WHY.I.HATE.DC Geraldo Rivera Award for Journalism. WTOP sets a new standard for poor web site usability, poor copy editing, and poor coverage of local news. Congratulations, I hope to see this award displayed right below the coveted Edward R. Murrow award. Good night, and good luck indeed.