Basement.org has got to be one of my favorite blogs. Their commentary on design issues is incisive and original. The most recent post is titled “The Television-ization of Newspapers on the Web“. In it they claim that 70% of the screen real estate on web newspaper sites are wasted with advertisements, titles, etc. I think this criticism of online newspapers is a bit harsh overblown.
Look at the Sunday edition of any main newspaper form a decent sized city in the US. How much of that page space is wasted by similar things? Granted those ads don’t move around, block the text until you touch them (which is frickin’ annoying), and the like, but still they take up a lot of page real estate. This is how newspapers stay in business. Not everything can be given away for free and newspapers probably won’t last long with a Long Tail business model approach. If I can get the NY Times for free online, but 70% of the web site is “wasted”, that’s still better than paying.