Last Sunday I was on the road and like I do every Lord 's Day, I wanted to catch-up with Simon Kolawole Live! on Thisday but I couldn't because Thisdaylive.com isn't formatted to be displayed suitably on a mobile device. If I zoom up to what my ageing eyes could read properly, the pages extend beyond the browser and would require too many horizontal scrolling. Anyway, I gave up and that was it.
All news organizations in Nigeria have websites though the quality and design of these websites is an argument best left for another day. Save for Vanguard and maybe Thisday, the rest are online junk; crappy slow-loading messes that hardly receive proper updates. Even Thisday just earned a bit of my respect after a belated redesign. Business Day Online used to be a joy to read but then only heaven knows what happened to their webmaster. At first, it was an irritating music (yes, music on a business news website!) and now the whole site is just something else.
Anyway, back to my ranting.
The internet is alive and kicking in Nigeria, but on mobile phones. And considering that we spend most of our productive time stuck in some traffic, the mobile web becomes even more important. So it is amazing that none of the top news organizations have their websites formatted to be displayed properly on mobile devices. You can't even load Guardian on your Blackberry because the file size is too large.
Any news agency that is quick to recognize the potentials of the mobile web stands a chance to win a large followership (large followership translates to premium advertising) as long as it has good stories to offer for the quality of the news in Nigeria is something else. Maybe the same stuck-in-the-box thinking affecting the quality of the news is also affecting the quality of the web and the absence of a mobile site. Maybe not.
If you want to know the difference between a proper news website and its mobile version visit Guardian.co.uk on your desktop and mobile device.
Major news websites in Nigeria:
- Business Day: businessdayonline.com
- Champion News: champnews.com
- Daily Trust: dailytrust.com
- Guardian: ngrguargiannews.com
- Next: 234next.com
- Punch: punchontheweb.com
- The Nation: thenationonlineng.net
- The Sun: sunnewsonline.com
- Thisday: thisdaylive.com
- Tribune: tribune.com.ng
- Vanguard: vanguardngr.com