November 3, 2005, here on slacktivist: Don’t need a weather man
This is almost precisely the opposite of what newspapers exist to do. They exist to provide their readers access to information — not to wedge themselves in between the readers and that information.
But by interfering with their readers’ access to the weather, newspapers are able to keep them on site. Directing readers to the repackaged page means more hits, which means more ad revenue. And ads can be sold on the weather page too.
I appreciate that newspapers have to pay the bills. Directing readers to the NWS site might be a better, and more honest, service, but it results in no apparent revenue. So it might seem that what I am suggesting sounds nice in principle, but is unsustainable as a business plan.
But in the long run, newspapers cannot afford not to do this. Ensuring that the paper can be relied on to provide the most direct access to the best available information earns the readers’ trust. And it is only that trust that will keep them coming back.