It's god awful. I mean, terrible. Just look at this logo:
Now, I don't even know what the hell font that is, it sort of looks like someone spliced in logic puzzles from an IQ test. Which is next in the pattern? Exploded pie chart? And then the classy faux-handwriting that tells us something about how Washington feels. Really NBC? Are we bored with Kate heading to Rockville? At what point did the people who could even sort-of be called journalists bend over and take it from an NBC executive with a rolled up copy of US Weekly? By the way, NBC4, Kate isn't moving to Rockville. Never was. Snap, the Washington Post beat you to to scoop. If by scoop we mean passing along gossip. We're grasping for straws here.
IN ANY EVENT. I suppose I'm holding local news stations to an unfairly high standard. I just don't understand why these sites try so hard to be something they are not, while failing at they should be. NBC you are not Wonkette, even if you hire their writers. I'd bet you a good deal of money that DCist gets more hits than you. You are a news organization that likely hires a few people who have skill at writing and producing news. You have fancy equipment like trucks with microwave antennas so you can beam footage back to the studio. You can dispatch "reporters" all around the city to cover local news. You know, things that are newsworthy and that occur within the Washington, D.C. area.
Any blogger with a computer can write the drivel you post on your site and call news. I don't even have to leave my house or office and I can put together the same crap you do. You have resources. I don't. I don't have press passes and a salary that is paid with the idea that I'm covering the news. There are people who like to read the news. There are a lot of us out there who don't watch newscasts, but would love a nicely presented (objective!) summary of the news, perhaps in stories that are written with proper spelling and grammar. I bet if you put your top stories online, and not filled with commentary or jokes, a lot more people would read and link to your site.
I don't go to NBCWashington.com to read poorly written jokes. I generally go there looking for news because they have the ability to cover the news. Who decided to just give up and not care? And who the hell decided to ask the 12 people who view the site to vote on "how they feel" about a story. Here's the results from the story about NBC redesigning the site. Well, it wasn't a story, it was just a graphic.
Too many options! Hell, at least just copy the sites you are trying to mimic (e.g. Digg, reddit, etc) and give me a thumbs up/thumbs down. You are really asking me to sit and be all introspective about your crap attempts at the Internet?
Take this story for example, "DC Council Preps To Hike Taxes on Fun Things." Here's a screenshot:
I don't even know where to start. I suppose I'll start with the fact that the article isn't even funny. Newell makes an attempt at humor, and tries to stand up for the common man or something, by explaining that poor people need cigarettes to get through the recession that was caused by Wall Street. Even if it was funny, however, I don't see how this belongs on a news site. It's poorly written, in a casual tone, and doesn't provide any reporting or information.
If you're going to be doing crap like this on the local affiliate sites, I'd urge NBC corporate to come up with a different logo. Get the peacock off of there. The average person likely makes an association between NBCWashington.com and NBC News (Washington Bureau).
Oh, but we can take solace in the fact that it's not just DC that's embarrassing itself. This is a shot from NBC Chicago: