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ITV News launches new website with emphasis on breaking news

ITV News launches new website with emphasis on breaking news

ITV News has launched a new website with a focus on real time breaking news and analysis, the TV network announced. It has been rolled out in beta just in time for the UK Budget 2012 announcement on Wednesday, a press release said, and is part of an effort to put digital “at the heart of ITV’s news operation.”

A stream of rolling stories, updated to the minute, dominates the homepage. This offers ‘the very latest developments,’ said a video about the new design, and features short updates, text stories, photos, videos, and blogs. It echoes the traditional reverse-chronological order of a blog in its appearance.

Although ITV has consequently turned a way from a homepage structure dictated by what the editors feel is most important, there is a list of major stories along the left side of the page. Clicking on one of these filters the stream to offer just news about that story.

At the very top of the page you can switch to news filtered by region or topic and a top news section just below this shows you the ‘best’ on the site right now. Users can share everything on Facebook or Twitter, and the new site is optimized for use on mobiles and tablets as well as websites.

The site was made over a ten-month period in conjunction with digital design agency Made by Many. According to the agency’s blog, the idea was to create a “digitally native news service, something made for the web and mobile that left behind the Guttenberg-era baggage of ‘pages’, ‘articles’ and ‘editions’ that most news websites haven’t been able to shake off.” The fact that ITV has no print culture might have made this easier, the agency said.

The design of the website strives for simplicity, Made my Many said, and focuses on satisfying two user desires: to know what is going on in the world today and to be able to follow the big stories of the day across devices. The fulfillment of this latter desire is what prompted the filtering by story functionality, which the blog describes as “the big idea.” As ITV online editor Julian March told Nieman Lab, the site thus hopes to cater to both ‘skimmers’ and ‘diggers.’

As Nieman Lab’s Adrienne LaFrance noted, the site takes inspiration from Twitter and Facebook streams in its design, and tells you, as both these social networks do, how many updates there are since you last refreshed the page. This is particularly unusual for a newspaper or broadcaster, she comments, who usually favour a structured editorial layout. 

There was a significant test period, the agency said, during which they learnt important lessons, such as the fact that curating the stream is the job of at least three editors/producers, and that the optimum number of filters was between 9 and 12. There will be further releases of the product over time: this is a ‘minimum viable product,’ Made by Many says.

Will more news organisations move away from traditional editorial layout on their website homepages? Or is it an essential part of the reading experience?

Source: ITV press release, ITV, Nieman Lab


Emma Goodman


2012-03-20 18:04

The World Editors Forum is the organization within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.

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