Saturday, September 15, 2012

USAT | Here's the much-awaited new website

Head to to see it yourself. This is a just-taken screenshot of the new homepage . . .

. . . and here's what it replaces:

Watch this video tour of the new site.


  1. Oy. First impression of the current homepage:

    I would not lead with a feature about a car test drive -- especially one that uses handout art. It's way too soft and static.

    The homepage -- especially in the early days, as new users come aboard -- needs to crackle with news, news news.

    Art 101: Photos of objects are never as engaging as photos of people demonstrating emotion.

  2. The Middle East is exploding (again), helping send oil prices soaring.

    That threatens to raise gas prices, which could further slow the economy -- and affect the presidential race.

    Why isn't that the lead story right now on the Beta version? It's there, more or less, as the top story on the non-beta

    New design and tech functionality are only as good as the underlying news and news judgement.

  3. Jim, you hit it on the head. News judgement. There is very little experienced news eertise among the digital staff, with the exception of Money's on line producers. But they are stymied by print side editors and reporters who remain clueless regarding digital.

    The lack of experience, however, extends throughout the digital operation. It's mostly amateur hour, 24/7. You get what you pay for, I guess.

  4. Jim, I just came from and your site seems slow!

    Agree with you on content selection, but you can't argue the visual display and speed.

  5. Question: In the newly redesigned website, where are the reporters' individual e-mail addresses, so readers can write to them directly with suggestions, etc.?

    1. Email addresses for reporters? Holy shit you are digging deep. No one gives a shit about reporter's email addresses. What no positive comments about the new site Jimbo? What a surprise. Maybe you can go to the next shareholders meeting and ask Kramer yourself!!!!

  6. pretty cool feature: clicking on the "book" icon in the top navigation bar brings up a flip book version of the site. It "feels" like what a news website ought to have been all along and makes and all of the grid newspaper websites seem oh so old...

  7. Charles Everett9/15/2012 1:13 PM

    Beta site already has a major faux pas. It's a fall Saturday and the scoreboard on the sports front does not default to college football.


  8. Major kudos from Poynter:

  9. Here's a typical comment shared this morning about the new USA TODAY web site:

  10. Uh Jim, that's the Money front. Click on the home page. It doesn't have a test drive. it has news, news, news.

  11. 2:17 No; that was the first page USAT took me to when I went to

  12. 2:05 So far, the new site is an enormous improvement in how it functions. I'm sorry I didn't say that first.

    But I disagree about e-mail addresses -- especially when USAT is so focused on tech improvements. E-mail is 101. The other two national papers figured that out long ago.

    And again: news content will be the biggest challenge to improving the paper. Without that, it's just a site with a lot of new bells and whistles.

  13. Um Jim, that would be "balls" and whistles.

  14. Poynter has lost just about all credibility in the journalism community. The person who wrote that review is the same "manager" whose strident, self-righteous approach resulted in Romenesko's exit. Today's Poynter is too compromised and the site is a beg-a-thon. In return, they offer up tired bromides and overhyped, bland online crap like NewsU. How the mighty have fallen.

  15. You know, Jim. A lot of people at USA Today who have nothing to do with layoffs, furloughs, design centers, the decision to build a Crystal Palace, firing the blue ball trio, Marketing or all the other "villains" in this blog, have been working tirelessly for months on the redesign, the new web site, the new advertising efforts and many other new initiatives.

    They deserve a far deeper analysis and reaction from you than "I wonder how much it will cost to change the logo on the building?"

    This blog is notably discordant with the true reaction to the redesigns, which although negative in spots has been largely positive, especially to the web redesign.

    It seems you are petulantly casting about to find ah-hahs!at the fringes of things rather than reacting to the project in its totality.

    Saying "but what about the content?", is a cop-out, since you never seem to actually assess the content, which is not as terrible as your sneers seem to indicate. No, USA Today cannot always compete on the international level, and our staffing levels are not what we'd like.

    But what actually runs in the paper or online is actually quite competitive.

    You may disagree. But we don't actually know what you think because instead you are gathering ammo for the "mean girl" contingent of angry or former Gannett employees.

    The enormity of this remake is worthy of far more from you, and this blog, than the catty and mean-spirited castigations against a staff (colleagues and former colleagues), who have been working like crazy to make this right and get USA Today back on track.

    They deserve better.

    And your legacy as a "voice" of journalistic criticism deserves better than this crazy mud-slinging you've been doing for a week now.

    Besides the blue ball memo "scoop" you have had virtually nothing to add to the media-wide discussion; others do not seem to be seeking your opinion; you are not being quoted anywhere.

    The head of a critical Gannett Blog one would think to be a go-to source for other media. Instead, you are sideshow.

    USA Today is moving on into the future. Be nice if this blog could grow up and mature, too.


Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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