This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 7, 2006 1:21 PM. The previous post in this blog was You can't do that. The next post in this blog is Carousel of time. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Portland's newest export: Velveeta

OregonLive, the website that's affiliated with The Oregonian, has become noticeably more useful lately. Stories from the O go up around midnight; they're mostly all there; and news updates flash across the site's front page all day long.

Of course, there is still much misery. The search engine is weak, and there's no archive of stories more than a couple of weeks old -- none, either for free or for pay. And the comments feature on the site's blogs, long absent, still doesn't work in any meaningful way.

It's that way throughout the Advance newspaper chain, owned by the Newhouse family in New York. They've got a bunch of these sites, and they all suffer from the minuses that OregonLive displays. But at least the Oregon site has had some soul behind it, and the locals here have made some headway despite the crummy hand they've been dealt by the Advance shot-callers, who operate out of New Jersey.

Now the guy who's headed up the Oregon web operation, Kevin Cosgrove, is leaving his Portland gig and his Pearl District digs and heading off to join the boys and girls at Advance headquarters in Jersey City. He'll be the "director of editorial development" for the Advance websites, and boy, do they ever need it.

Cosgrove is a neat guy. When I called his product "Velveeta" a couple of years back, he cheerfully picked up the theme and called himself "Mr. Velveeta" as he reached out and made personal contact with me. We've had a number of great conversations since then, and he's a smart and thoughtful person. It's easy to dump on OregonLive, but it's not because of the man who's been in charge. He'll be missed in Portland, but the changes he makes on the national level (and I hope there will be quite a few) should redound to the benefit of all of Advance's readers, Oregonians included.

Ironically, Cosgrove will be working out of the same building in which I had my brief career as a professional journalist more than 30 years ago. At the time, the newsroom looked and smelled as if it hadn't been painted in about 40 years. I sure hope they've cleaned it up a bit since then. And Kevin, if you should find an orange scarf or a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses somewhere on the third floor, those are mine -- I forgot them. Please give me a call and I'll send Cousin Jim by to pick them up.

Comments (6)

I second the kudos to Cosgrove. From my brief time behind the scenes as an O-Live blogger during the 2004 campaign season (along with Snethen and a few others), it was readily apparent that Kevin is a class act all the way, and he actually accomplished quite a lot with rather limited resources.

So who's going to be running the site in his absence?

Randy Gragg.


re: the O archive. I know people with patience who are able to find old O articles (free of charge, going back years) using the Multnomah County Library's electronic resources (not microfiche).

Some databases you possibly need to be in the main library to tap ( at their happy computer banks), others you can sneak a peek at from home in your jammies through the library's website, www.multcolib.org. You just need to have your library card number in front of you.

You have to be patient, and it helps to drop a trail of crumbs as you work through their databases----so you can figure out where you went later.

Yes, we've had that conversation here before. If you have a Mult. Co. library card and an online password (typically last 4 digits of your phone number), you can use their database and search the O going back. I've done it myself. But OregonLive should have its own archive, it should work better, and it should make a little money for Advance. They obviously don't see it that way.

Clicky Web Analytics