It's Just So Wrong
Newspapers are all about web hits.
Web hits on stories generate buzz, they get the attention of advertisers, and they drive dollars.
For the past several years, newspapers, including this one, have designed and redesigned their websites to maximize hits. While bells and whistles have been added, employees have been laid off. So while there are more links, there's less original content.
Anyway, one of the features you see on just about every newspaper website is "related" content. You're reading about a topic; they want to give you links to more stories on the subject. While some web strategies pander to the lowest common denominator, this one is journalistically sound. If you're there to enlighten readers, might as well give them everything you can think of that's relevant to read.
The Sun-Sentinel showed us yesterday with its Ponzi clawback story on Russ Adler how wrong it can go when it's not done with due care. See inside.
Here's the related box the newspaper ran (and possibly still has) with the story on the former Scott Rothstein partner.
When I saw it last night, I wondered if this was Russ Adler's brother. What did he have to do with the Rothstein scandal?
Nothing, and upon looking him up, it was evident how wrong it was. This man had nothing at all do with any Ponzi scheme -- far from it.
I don't even know if the items they choose for these boxes are automatically triggered by key words or if someone in the web department mistakenly thought there was a connection. It's obviously an honest mistake, but it's also clear that the newspaper needs to better watch what stories it links together.
The upside? It gives us a chance to honor, in our small way, Lee Adler, victim of the September 11 World Trade Center attacks, this morning.
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