editor on the verge

Online musings from the newsroom and beyond . . . by Yoni Greenbaum

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Do page numbers matter online?

February 17th, 2008 · No Comments

While working on a previous post I came across a feature that made me say “huh, that’s neat.”

Long ago I stopped, for the most part, reading newspapers in print. It was a combination of my schedule and my focus that drove me online. But one of the aspects that I missed from print was not the dirty fingers, but story play. Online, you don’t know if a story ran on page six or page 64. You don’t know if was a section cover or just one of a number of stories tossed onto open pages. While in the overall scheme of things that may not matter, I often find myself wondering where a story was played?

So, I was wandering through the San Francisco Chronicle online and while reading a story about high-end home sales, I noticed at the bottom of the story the following line:

This article appeared on page C – 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Sure enough, as I looked around the site, I saw that they included this line for apparently every story that also appeared in the newspaper. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like you can search for other stories that appear on the same page (at least the search didn’t work for me). It would be interesting to see it’s popularity if you could search on the page number and get results that showed you what else appeared on the same page.

Granted I don’t know the mechanics behind this feature, the degree to which it is automatic or whether or not human beings have to manually enter them into the system, but I think it’s a feature with potential. What are your thoughts? Do you think page numbers have any place or value online?

NOTE: I’m proud to be participating, along with fellow journalism bloggers from around the world in the Carnival of Journalism. In addition to reading my post please visit the Carnival host site and see what my colleagues are writing about. Not sure what a blog carnival is? Check out this entry on Wikipedia.

Tags: Audience Development · Best Practices · Carnival of Journalism · Online

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