Find The Web Editor's Name And E-Mail Address Week continues today with a trip to ABCNEWS.com.
After the home page loads, I quickly locate the navigation -- found in the left rail -- and scan it downward. In no time at all, I spot a link to "contact ABC." Simple.
On the subsequent E-mail ABCNEWS page, my eyes quickly skip over the "ABC Television Shows" section and focus on the "ABCNEWS.com" section -- the right half of the content area:
I skim the choices: ABCNEWS.com Content ... ABCNEWS.com Technical Assistance ... Video & Audio ... Only the first two seem relevant to my task. I click the first link.
Whoa. Things were going so well, but all of a sudden I'm at the ABCNEWS.com Content FAQ. I quickly scan the questions and realize that the page doesn't appear to have any staff information. It does say, under "I want to send my comment, suggestion or opinion," that
"We do not personally respond to comments, opinions and suggestions." That doesn't bode well, but I continue looking.
Ah! A glimmer of hope. At the bottom of the page I notice a paragraph that says:
This FAQ page was created to provide you with an immediate answer to your question. If you are unable to find an answer to your question on this FAQ page please go here to contact us.
I follow the link, but it takes me to the "Content and Technical Contact Us Form", which would be helpful if I were just trying to contact anybody on the site's staff -- but not a particular person. I click the Back button once, twice, three times to get back to the home page.
Now I try scrolling to the bottom of the home page, where I find links to "HELP," "CONTACT ABC" and "PR." I try "HELP."
On the resulting page, ABCNEWS.com Toolkit, only one section looks like it might be helpful: "Tech support."
I move my mouse to click "here," but out of sheer luck, I notice that the words "Tech support" link to a different Web address than the word "here" in the body copy. What the heck? Which one do I click? Guess I'll try both. I click "Tech support," but it merely gives me another form to fill out. I click Back and try the "here" link, but the resulting page is a strange amalgamy of answers to various 1999-era browser questions (e.g., how to clear the cache of the Netscape 2.0 browser). Suffice it to say staff e-mails are not on this page. I click Back again, and Back once or twice more to return to the home page, empty-handed.
Not done yet. I click the "CONTACT ABC" link at the bottom of the home page; maybe it's different than the one I saw before. Nope, it isn't. I try "TOOLBOX," and that takes me to the same page I got when I clicked "HELP" -- even though "HELP" and "TOOLS" are two distinct options of the same horizontal menu at the bottom of the home page, and one would assume two different links lead to two different pages. Finally, I try "PR," but that doesn't help, either.
I give up. Estimated time spent: Two minutes. If you can figure out how to find ABCNEWS.com's staff listings on its Web site, please share.
How depressing. Tomorrow, I'll see how a smaller-market news site fares.