Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rochester | D&C just launched redesigned website

The Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y., today became the latest community news site to adopt a new look modeled after USA Today's, launched a year ago this month.

Corporate has said it expects to add the new template to newspaper and TV sites in its 35 biggest U.S. markets by the end of the year.

WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tenn., was first out of the gate early this month.


  1. I keep getting errors: file not found.

  2. Not surprising that D&C is first community newspaper to roll out this look, considering the Traci Bauer -- Kate Marymont symbiosis.

  3. There's no local news section to click on. Local news stories are sprinkled throughout the site -- but you can't click on a "Local" header and find them all gathered on one place.

    1. A "Local News" section is an artifact of our print legacy. Of course local stories are throughout the site -- it's a local news site. It makes zero sense for the D&C or any local publication -- Gannett or otherwise -- to emphasize world and national news on its sites as we did in print A1 years ago. People don't go to local sites for national/world news. They go for local.

  4. You're right on a macro level, 9:30. I guess what I meant was, they do have a Sports header, and a Business header, and a Life header and a Her header -- so if you want to read about any of those topics, they've collected stories for you in one place. But if you want to read about local government, schools, etc., you have to dig around and find the stories piecemeal.

  5. What puzzles me is: Why aren't stories tagged by subject, like they were on the previous design -- and as they still are on all the rest of Gannett's news sites.

    If I'm reading a story about, say, the a public schools board meeting, and want to read more stories on that subject, a "public schools" tag would make that easier.

    It seems like this new design is a step backward in that regard.

    It LOOKs like there are tags when you display stories in "list" mode rather than "grid." In list right now, I see: local, football, columnist, business, etc., in blue. They appear hot. But when I click on them, all I get is the story itself, not a list of all stories tagged local, football, etc.

    And ditto for staff bylines. In this design, just on USAT, I would like to click on the author's byline so I can pull up all other stories by that same person. But I can't.

    In the previous design, at least, the byline had one function: click on it and my e-mail program would automatically launch with a form to fill out. In this new D&C design, I need to scroll to the bottom, copy the e-mail address, then launch my e-mail and paste the address there. Too many steps.

    Finally: video. Gannett's making a huge push to produce more of these. So why does the D&C make it harder than necessary to find them. After wandering around, I found the little camera icon to the far right of the toolbar. Too cute -- too. Why not simply use the phrase: video and photos? Why tuck them way down the page on the far right, where I have to notice the play button to know it's a video rather than a still photo?

    Yes, I'm sounding grumpy. But this design is the product of two years' work. It hardly seems cutting edge.

    Young readers -- the target audience for digital news, therefore the company's future -- want a much more interactive experience. Too many newspaper sites, Gannett included, behave like traditional newspapers: they're static.


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