The way advertising is presented in online newspaper sites is killing them.

Per Robert Niles at USC’s Online Journalism Review:

News publishers like to point to television, free news online, English literacy rates and slew of other reasons to explain their readership losses. But the contempt that newspapers show for their readers by burying their editorial content beneath their remaining advertising surely is not helping keep readers around.

He provides examples of the garbage we’re served up.

Everyday I check the website of the Pasadena Star-News. And every day, the front section of the website’s homepage is obscured by a pop-up widget urging me to take a survey about the site’s new design. Click the red ‘X’ in the corner to close the widget window, and the op-up appears every time you return to the page. (If you click the button declining to take the survey, the window disappears for the remainder of your session.)

If I register with the LA Times website, the Times insists on spamming me with commercial e-mails for products about which I do not care. If I opt-out of the e-mails, the Times cancels my website registration. (Which is why I don’t have a Times website registration anymore