And another mistake for NRC's ePaper…

Yesterday the NRC newspaper for the iLiad contained not one but three files: the normal Thursday newspaper, Wednesday’s newspaper and a letter of apology. What had happened? The Wednesday paper that was sent out to all ePaper readers was a bit strange, to say it in a nice way. Lots of articles were about a journalist that was retiring, and from the articles it seemed like he was a combination of a god and an alcoholic at the same time. The way he did his work as a bike racing sports journalist? By drinking until the sun came up, watching the bike race on TV close to the finish line and then quickly interviewing a couple of riders. It certainly lowered my esteem for the professional traditional media journalists (bloggers sometimes report in a more professional way!).

I assumed the journalist would be very famous in Holland, but that because I did not live there since 1995 I had probably missed that. But it turns out the reason for all these articles was a different one: it was a mistake by the NRC. The paper makes a special edition of its newspaper for every journalist that leaves, with personal stories about his or her professional life. These stories were not meant for publication, but NRC by mistake sent them out to all iLiad readers. Their second big mistake in 3 days.

So the paper sent out an apology to its readers for its blunders over the past days and for this one in particular and tells its readers that they will get compensation for these mistakes. That’s fine, but what’s not so good is that they replaced the ‘wrong’ paper of Wednesday with a new updated one. They literally deleted the Wednesday paper and put a new one in its place. I think this is very wrong, they don’t get to decide what is on my iLiad! Suppose I had written some comments next to articles (which I do sometimes, just like in a normal paper), they would be gone now as well. The papers seems to try to hide their mistake in this way, but is only making it worse in my opinion. People own their content in the digital age, not the media.

NRC is doing its best to deliver new media content, but forgets new media is different from traditional media. And new media means two-way communication, so I hope they don’t mind this blog post. At least NRC is experimenting with ePaper (and the only paper in Holland to do so) and that’s something to applaud. They are not afraid to be entrepreneurial, even though that inevitably leads to some errors. I wish them good luck solving all the problems!

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  1. well, I also received the ‘joke ePaper edition’on my iLiad at wednesday.
    I was NOT amused.
    the thursday ePaper came with some kind of letter from the Publisher, Gert Jan Oelderik, who explained about the joke, and wrote that ‘I now should found a new 1 octobre ePpaper on my iLiad.’
    i did NOT found a new 1 octobre ePaper, and the original was gone!
    he just stole it of deleted it, but I lost it.
    the 2th octobre Thursday ePaper from NRC was a recoverd/updated ePaper from the first of octobre, and I never received the original 2th octobre newspaper.
    two big mistakes, and I wonder what is stolen next, or deleted from a distance….

    I feel very angry about this and these mistakes are real, real bad for my faith in the ePaper.

  2. On Thursday October, 2nd I expressed my worries about the deletion of the Wednesday ePaper on the users forum of the NRC. Several users commented on this, but we had to wait for a response from the NRC until Sunday afternoon. The manager of the New Media Team, Edwin Schravesande, posted a 4 sentence explanation saying that the iLiad synchronises the NRC folder on the server with the NRC folder on the iLiad and that the NRC does not look into the users folder, but rather that the iLIad looks on the NRC server. He adds that according to him this is a suitable method to send updates of the paper. This short response shows no sense that the NRC is aware that they made an error and does not address the worries brought up by me and other users. In fact, it gives the impression that Mr. Schravesande has not seen the discussion on the forum. No one was worried that the NRC was able to look into their iLiad. Rather we complained (like Marc in this blog) that files on our iLiad disappeared without our explicit permission and were worried that this may lead to serious problems (such as the loss of notes scribbled on the paper, accidental loss of files, and exploitation of this leak by viruses and malicious hackers). The response shows that the NRC does not understand why we are worried and what the problems are of replacing files. In response, I asked some further questions (do you think there is a problem and if so what measures are you going to take?). Up to now I did not receive an answer.

    The last two weeks at least three other users posted requests to the NRC on the forum about other issues. None of them received an answer. No sign that NRC has seen the posts. This is so depressing ……