Reuters blog archive

from Jack Shafer:

Bloggy Monday—A slow-loading ombudsman; Herman Cain; and bad hed Edition

Another Slow-loading Ombudsman If newspaper ombudsmen have any right to exist—and I'm not suggesting that they do—it is to intervene in a way that solves reader problems. A reader has trouble with home delivery or billing? Expedite, Mr. Ombudsman! A reader can't get the editors to correct an error? Persuade the editor to amend his ways, Mr. Ombudsman, or shame him in a column.

Washington Post ombudsman Patrick B. Paxton ignores this maxim in his most recent column, "Post Web site loads too slowly."

After fielding complaints from dozens of bellyaching readers who say the Post's website takes forever to download pages, Paxton explains what the Post webmasters have explained to him: Post pages load slowly because they're are larded with ads, videos, photos, and "plug-ins" that allow the viewing of various kinds of content. And that's not all. They're also filled with tracking and marketing code, which compiles dossiers on where viewers come from, and where they go, and helps determine which ads to display on the Post page.

The tech staff tells Paxton that they're aware of the snail-speed of their pages—"in recent days, a 'SWAT' team was formed to examine page performance," Paxton writes. But the tech staff has greater priorities than page-loading right now, he writes, like redesigning pages for the politics and polling pages, and improving Post apps for mobile devices.