Tomorrow is the thirtieth birthday of USA Today. The country’s second most widely read newspaper is celebrating by presenting a bold new face to the world, in print and across all digital platforms. This is the first time the paper has been significantly redesigned in its three decades of existence, and commentators are divided. Some view it as a desperate move to escape an inevitable spiral toward a Kodak-like fate, while others welcome a new shake-up by the American newspaper industry’s original change artist.
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.
Today, national French daily newspaper Le Monde launched a new format for its website Le Monde.fr.
The redesigned layout features a more visible header, with a centered logo and tabs for each section of the website, according to an email alert from Gorkana. Videos and other visual media are also more prominent under the new design.
The new website also includes a live-chat feature, in which users can ask journalists about news articles and receive answers almost immediately, as well as an alert window for news updates.
“Le Monde innovates with a live platform present on all website pages, offering coverage of various events under a chat format,” the email said. “Online users will have the possibility to question the editorial staff in real time.
The email said that the chat option is meant to increase interaction between Le Monde staff and online users, as well as demonstrate the recent integration of the print and online versions of the daily.
“The new design takes into account the publication’s strategic choice to unite its online and print editorial teams, which took effect last September with the creation of a political newsroom,” the email said.
El Pais is putting its digital first foot forward…
Over the past few months, the Spanish daily has been introducing major changes to its digital products, gradually shifting sections of the paper over to a new platform and CMS. On the February 22 it unveiled a fully redesigned web page, with improved navigation, easier sharing and more sophisticated search functions.
The innovations are part of a radical change in newsroom culture at El Pais. “We’ve shifted our center of gravity at the newsroom – in the past it used to be print, but now it is digital,” wrote the paper in a blog post last month.
For more on this story please see our sister publication www.sfnblog.com
It has been a week of newspapers’ redesigns. Several newspapers unveiled shiny versions of their print products and sites as well as announcing new tools and enhanced usability.
As SFN blog reported yesterday, Spanish El Pais, driven by a main change in its newsroom culture, has recently introduced changes in its digital products which has been reflected also in a website redesign.
The UK Evening Standard launched a newly design website enriched by two new sections aiming to “double its online audience and revenue over the coming year”, Press Gazette reported. It launched a dedicated section for the upcoming Olympic games, along with a new ‘Going Out’ section aimed at both Londoners and visitors which will feature food reviews, arts and theatres.
The future of the newspaper is in magazines, believes Jacek Utko, design director for Bonnier Business Press, which publishes newspapers in eight Central European countries. This is a trend that news organisations should embrace rather than fight, he added, speaking at the 5th Arab Free Press Forum in Tunis.
Print is still a highly relevant medium, Utko said, and publishers are increasingly realizing this as they have been disappointed by tablets as audience- and revenue-generators.
However, the print model at many news organisations - publishing website content the following day and charging for it - does not make sense, Utko claims. It is necessary to offer more than that if you want people to willingly pay for the product.
Newspapers have a lot to learn from magazines, Utko said, starting with how to structure the information they provide. Magazines are small, with abundant spreads: when they deal with a long text, they make it as easy as possible to understand the content.
He called for news organisations to take a more creative approach to presenting news, rather than to be reactive, like "barking dogs."
StumbleUpon has redesigned its website and the changes are of more than passing interest.
The 'social discovery engine', which asks users to register things they like and then guides them at random through to related sites, unrolled the changes yesterday.
The alterations follow a rise in visibility for StumbleUpon. In July GigaOm reported that StumbleUpon was sending more traffic to American websites than Facebook. Its number of regular users doubled in 16 months, now totaling more than 20 million. It boasts 33 million monthly unique visitors.
So what exactly is different?
The site has moved from the old blue, green and white logo, to a cleaner looking dark orange and white one. More importantly, the site as a whole is more visually focused. There are big, high-quality images to accompany each interest on a user's homepage and the toolbar is less obtrusive and cleaner (perhaps it owes some inspiration to the Hootsuite toolbar?). The difference in visual appeal is striking when you compare screenshots posted by GigaOm.
Inclusion in ePresse, the new digital kiosk for French publishers, is not the only change on the horizon for Le Parisien. In light of recent figures of circulation decline, the French regional publication is restructuring its approach to print and diversifying alongside it.
Last Friday, the Amaury Group (owner of Le Parisien) announced it would be investing 30 million euros into the paper. The paper will unveil its redesigned format in 2012, which will be more colorful and with enhanced sections. In addition to the new format, Le Monde
reported that the newspaper would launch a weekly lifestyle magazine next year. In test editions, it included articles on events, do-it-yourself projects, gardening, and education.
The New York Observer, the Manhattan weekly salmon-coloured magazine, is launching today, June 8th, a redesign of both its website and its print edition.
As Yahoo!'s The Cutline noted, this alone is hardly newsworthy as during the past two years the paper has gone through several changes, getting through three editors-in-chiefs and about as many redesigns in print and online.
According to the article however, the newest top editor Elizabeth Spiers announced that this time the publication is "going back in the direction that it probably should have stayed on".
On the print side Spiers announced that the idea is to go back to treating the paper like a newspaper, albeit in a tabloid format, leaving some previous elements that seemed more suitable for white glossy paper magazine in favour of a cleaner version, more suitable for salmon newsprint.
However, the main changes seem to affect the website in order to give emphasis to long-form articles and adopt a clearer and more readable layout. The paper abandoned its former content-management system Drupal, turning to a lighter WordPress CMS. As the article reported, the new web version will accommodate more breaking news and higher volume posting.
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