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Feb-26-2012 14:11printcomments

Technology Opinion: CSS Whatever

In a PHP world, CSS can be a real nightmare...

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(SALEM) - Change for the sake of change, that is the American way right? This money philosophy is designed to keep consumers spending and little else, reinventing the wheel is not always necessary.

CSS is a form of web language that is increasingly taking over the field, the one created in HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) that gave us what we know today online.

If I'm not mistaken, all of this is created for the user, and if this is the case, then CSS is at epic-fail stage and I want nothing to do with it, unfortunately I have little choice.

Let me back up a little bit; as the news editor of, I live and breathe Web publishing. I write new stories almost every day, but the lion's share of my day is dedicated toward publishing daily news and contributions from our 100+ contributors.

As a Web news editor, I use Mozilla Firefox because it has a feature called 'view selection source' - this is used to pull content from a story without having to rebuild it from the top, which can be very time consuming. The advantage is achieved by highlighting the article and right clicking, at which point the 'selection source' option becomes available.

Anyone reading this can probably imagine how daunting a long form story full of bold and italic text, hyperlinks, photos and video can be, if one has to dissect it completely before publishing.

The typical HTML code for a paragraph break involves placing a 'p' inside brackets, replacing 'p' with 'br' removes the space between the paragraphs, but leaves the paragraph otherwise intact. Google sees all of this, and if I leave extra 'p' paragraph breaks in place, the search engine assumes we have twice the number of paragraphs in the story and with Google, brevity really counts.

So, normally I strip code with the 'selection source' and then remove the extra 'p' paragraph spaces and it is fairly fast, and here is the problem. The new CSS code uses the same code to space paragraphs, that it uses to 'underline' copy. The result with the new CSS system which I am seeing increasingly, is that every paragraph has the 'u' in place and this underscores the entire report.

Duplicity in this type of terminology is both dangerous and irresponsible and I hope HTML finds a way to hold on, because the brains that created that system are better than the ones creating CSS. Here's a small example, with HTML if you want to bold a word or paragraph, you simply write a 'b' inside those sharp brackets, or to italicize we use an 'i' and onward we go. But with CSS there are more letters to write, how is that an advantage? To bold with CSS we must write out the word 'strong', what is the advantage in this? It seems ludicrous to me, and unnecessary.

For this 'user' the system is over challenging, if I did not have our Web Designer Matt Lintz available to consult with, I do not know what I would do sometimes.


Tim King, summer 2008, covering the Iraq War

Tim King: Editor and Writer

Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim is a former U.S. Marine.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.

Serving the community in very real terms, is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 102 writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. Tim's Facebook page is You can write to Tim at this address:

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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