Condition of Nepalese news website is, I say, worse than the condition of Nepal. Funded poorly, these websites are more into making money, than giving news to the people. Every website, or say web portal that exists to give news of and about Nepal in Nepal are 1) Colorful 2) covers less news 3) is less user friendly 4) most importantly, The news are not indexed and user has no ability to search the archive 5) Pictures that are displayed are way too low quality than the standards and also the pictures are not indexed and are not searchable. 6) Uses more advertisements than news.
The main web portals that I have in consideration in this review are:
+eKantipur.com – web portal of the biggest news media in Nepal
+Nepalnews.com – web portal of the Mercantile
+HimalKhabar.com – web portal of Himal Media
+newsofNepal.com – portal of Kamana Prakasan Samuha (publishers of Nepal Samacharpatra)
+theHimalayantimes.com – new portal of The Himalayan Times
There are several other Nepalese news portals available in the web but these are only ones above I consider authentic, if there is any. I loved reading Kantipur and The Himalayan Times when I was in Nepal. But now I am used to different sets of newspapers here in the USA, most of them are web-based, but I still like the old fashioned paper-based. Here, abroad, I still need to know what is going on in the country, hence the need of online news portals, which is supposed to be good. But I wish they were.
Most depressing of all, the biggest news media of Nepal, if not the most popular one, Kantipur Publication has the worst of the web pages than the rest of the competitors. Not that, the competitor’s websites are any better, but still eKantipur sucks. Formerly kantipuronline.com and later dubbed eKantipur after getting a never-needed colorful makeover from the Kasaju brother’s Dreams and Ideas, is a news portal from Kantipur Publication. Yeah, right! I would rather say it is an ‘ad portal’. The proportion of ads is more in any given page than the news in it. Don’t believe me? Look at this page. Ad ad ad ad ad and even more ads everywhere.
What’s up with the Kantipur Qatar Edition link on the top right corner of the page, shouldn’t it tilt like the other links on the top and below it (as marked with RED outline in the picture).
Ok, I would understand if the ads were local, but all, if not most of them are from an ad server from Google. And this display of ad scattered everywhere in the website in not only the problem for eKantipur but for all of the other news websites as well. Look at a page from Nepalnews.com. They have less ads than eKantipur but still is more than the news that is displayed.
The other three news websites have relatively less ads than both of the above and has aligned ads, as per the layout of the site. But still I would consider them to be as bad as leeches, sucks out $$ and provides less news.
And what’s up with the beauty of the website anyways? They are supposed to provided news, not just attract people in their website with different colors that they put in the site. And the Kasaju brothers were trying to make a news portal as colorful as they have their cybersansar.com, but little did they know news sites are supposed to be simple with easy navigation. Change is inevitable and is important, for good or bad. So, bad was it for eKantipur, may be good will it be for the next. The other website Nepalnews.com and theHimalayantimes.com have not got their make-over since I don’t know when. They have looked the same since, I know, they existed. Recently, when the founder of Mercantile passed away I saw the head/top part of Nepalnews changed from green to black for some days, but again it is back to green. And that is it about the change.
NewsofNepal.com has a good simple layout, but still some of its links were found dead. I doubt if any of the 18,000 visitors they get daily from around the globe notified them about this, because the sample i have attached next is for the page to contact them. The ‘contact us’ link is dead.There were multiple mistakes found in one particular web page from newsofNepal.com, see for yourself in the picture.
The most simple, awesome site that I found is from Himal Media, himalkhabar.com. Although in the beta version, it is much more simpler, even as it is in Nepali font, which should be otherwise, has readable font-face type and not much color and is stylishly simple, the way it should be. It had Google ads, but arranged well with the layout, is as simple, doesn’t distract the news covered. The minor glitch that I found was about the comments made: not moderated.
The most neglected part of the news websites is capability to search the archive. Some of them have the search box in the website, from Google, in which case doesn’t search the entire database of the news server hence doesn’t do very well in the search. Most, if not all of the websites has put a functionality, that seems to be, for them: search, but in reality is more than pain in the ass. There is no way for me to type in ‘Girija’ and get all the news that is covered in that website and has name Girija on it. The search that they say is ‘search’ for what can be browsed with the date, month and year. That is not search! That is just browsing the content according to date. Himal Media is leap ahead in this criteria as well, it finds the word in the news but yes needs to be typed in Nepali.
Errors, carelessness apart, the bright side of these online medias are there. I get to read the news, even though the container that contains the news is ‘phohor ko thupro’. The new, now not that new thing is the epaper from the Himalayan Times. That thing is cool, updated regularly, simply is awesome. Besides the self ad that keeps on playing while every page is loaded, I get to read the exact same the Himalayan Times that anybody in Nepal gets to read, may be even earlier that anybody in Nepal gets to read. That is awesome. Kudos!
Keeping aside all these corporate owed websites, I like a different approach from mysansar.com as well. Not and authentic source of news, but reporting that these guys do, even in typical ‘pakhe’ Nepali way, is awesome. This site has a different set of news every time, covered in different perspective and they have the opinion of their own. And yes, it is the matter of one’s opinion. MySansar.com also has less ads to display than any other corporate owed portals, even being self-budgeted.
The other thing that I started liking are the Nepalese news video reports. Though posted extremely less in quantity, feels good to watch it, instead of reading. Nepalnews.com is the only one to post video (through youtube.com) news and they are the pioneer in streaming NTV news. MySansar.com also sometime posts some videos, which are interesting, they cover a lot of thing that is not covered by the corporate news media BUT most of the videos posted here are dubbed and re-dubbed and comments they give are yes typical ‘pakhe’ Nepaliway.
In a nutshell, news websites, sucks. They are improving, but not in the speed they should be improving. And, sucky news websites – I need to get the news – as there aren’t any alternatives. Now that is sick.