Design isn't about pretty (though good design almost always, irresistably, is). It's about ease of use, elegance, intuitive navigation, common sense -- and all of it built in, from the ground up.
I agree completely with Powers on a key point: today's consumers both know and expect good design. There's no easier way to look old fashioned, outdated or irrelevant than to offer them products that don't measure up.
Here's a snip from his short post, available in full here:
Most American papers look as if they've stopped caring and are just going through the motions. And it's a really bad time for newspapers to look bad. First, they are losing audience like crazy. Second, Americans have gotten more sophisticated about design...