How I Read the Toledo Blade

created Aug 17, 2019

When I discuss local media and my digital subscription to our "daily newspaper", called the Toledo Blade, I repeat myself by describing how I read the Blade. I'll use this page as the reference that I can link to, instead of saying similar things over and over.


Even though I'm a Blade digital subscriber, I do not use any of the Blade's digital offerings because those products are terrible.

I created my own web app to read the Blade. It uses the RSS feeds that the Blade still provides. My app runs on a server that I lease. The Blade articles that my app displays focuses on the content, which means no JavaScript, no ads, no trackers, and no gobbledygook.

The articles created by my Blade web reading app load fast because they are lightweight.

My Blade web reading app could be violating the Blade's terms of service, but as I've said many times here in the past, the Blade's web design violates the rules of human decency. If I could not read the Blade MY WAY, then I would not fund the Blade.

When local media orgs disrespect subscribers by offering readers disgusting, ad-filled, tracker-filled websites, then those media orgs should not be surprised when people don't want to fund their craft.

It appears that the Blade is trying to get people not to read the Blade on the web. And in my opinion, the Blade's mobile app products are not suitable alternatives. All of the Blade's bad digital offerings make their print product a better option, which is stunning. It takes effort to fail like this.

I can read the Blade via my own Blade web reading app by using any web browser on any internet-connected device. I can use graphical and text-based web browsers on my old Linux desktop computer. I use Chrome on a Chromebook and Safari on an old iPhone.

I can even read the Blade via my web app on an old Blackberry phone because my app produces simple HTML pages with a tiny amount of CSS. My version of the Blade articles are like the articles found at https://text.npr.org, except mine are enhanced with a smidgen of CSS, borrowed from https://bestmotherfucking.website. EZ-PZ.

More importantly, my design for web news articles is a superior way to treat subscribers. Respectful. Empathetic. How is this stunning simplicity lost on newspapers?

The Blade's hideous web design is not the fault of local residents, Craigslist, Facebook, nor Google. That's a bad choice made by Blade management.

Finding a sustainable funding model that supports local news is the holy grail. Obviously more is needed than good web design, but bad web design can only bring harm to a digital media org. Most users won't complain. They will simply move on.

And bad web design that disrespects readers can deter people, such as paying customers. Digital media orgs should appear to be welcoming by using useful and respectful web design.

Here's an excerpt from my post titled Battle Web Page Bloat:

A fast, simple delivery mechanism does not improve bad writing. But good writing and important writing can be lost or ignored when the delivery mechanism is an abomination.