It’s been quite a while now since I stopped reading newspapers. In this day and age where time is always a scarce resource, it’s just so much easier to open up the news website and browse. Besides, I can access international media like The New York Times or immediately switch to another news site if I feel like it. These luxuries are not accorded by the traditional newspapers apart from the other big disadvantage: they keep accumulating. And yes of course, I can read online for free. However, there is one thing about reading news on the Internet that really peeves me.

The one big advantage that newspapers offer is that they are quite well structured. Now before you jump up and point out that so are news sites, let me get right to the point. I’m talking in terms of advertisements, not the regular types, but the pop up ones. These are the scourge of the serious news reader. Let me recount what happened only this morning (it finally drove me to write this post). I reached office and got on to The Times of India news site as usual, all ready for my daily dose of news. But woe behold, a Toyota ad appeared instead of the familiar page. Since there was a provision to skip it, I did. Sadly, it did not end there. The moment the home page appeared, it suddenly swept across to the left and brought in another ad, this time of Volkswagen. It was time to tear my hair out.

Now why would a prestigious site like the Times of India resort to such irritating tactics? The obvious answer is money. But I can tell you as a regular reader that it is just so frustrating to have to navigate through a maze of ads that keep popping up without warning. In fact, even the ads on the sides just rise and slide and leap and expand and what not at the slightest sniff of the cursor. I am not necessarily the most precise handler of the mouse, but this is ridiculous. I can understand that ad revenues are important. But the rate at which ads are intruding upon the core purpose of the site is plainly disturbing.

I’m still not at a point where I would switch back to newspapers. But beware the news sites that try my patience. There are plenty others out there.