LAT.com – Getting it?

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2007/11/lat-thumb.jpgThe slightly dramatic redesign of LATimes.com shows that the folks at 1 Spring Street are finally getting one thing right. Make the page readable and usable.

Now if only they can make good on promises that they’re going to start welcoming citizen news stories, offering social-networking tools and perhaps, um, linking out to the rest of the Internets from story text.

Mmm. Smells like 1999 …

To be fair, informants tell me the paper has labored too long until just recently under the thumb of slow-moving, risk-averse and technically b0rked Tribune Interactive, but that there’s a ton of smart stuff in the works.

One bit of evidence, demo’d at BarCamp over the weekend, is a sharp, engaging and deeply affecting Homicide Map attached to Jill Leovy’s thoroughly excellent Homicide Report blog.

Keep ’em coming, folks. If you stay on this track, put your database-driven tools front and center and encourage editors to actually start covering Los Angeles more thoroughly, you’ll make it through this scary print-to-digital transition.

11 Replies to “LAT.com – Getting it?”

  1. No. NO. NONONO.

    Let Spring Street–or midtown, or Fleet Street, or whatever vehicle operate as it is expected.

    Are not most blogs already operated by those whose vested interests are about nothing more than that about which they blog? We know that!

    To let the papers of record be open, on-line, to the already too-toothful, too-monied interests, would render what few blogs that dare to bite the balls and sup on the blood of the well-entrenched monsters, that there may be a chance, of sorts, of new blood being injected.
    Are you mad? Blogs being made available to the general public? Get real, man–you may well be one one those already poised to overcome what little is left for the blue collar remnants in UK, America, and, erm, oh–Canada!

  2. The only thing they changed about the LA Times is the banner on top–which now looks more like the traditional print logo. I’ll save my praising for something a little more revolutionary.

  3. Heh. Wish away, BusTard.

    Fact is, the Times has reporting resources that all the blogs in town lack, and right now they’re better situated to cover L.A. than most. You may love to hate ’em, but I think we’d all be poorer if they went under for failing to meet the ever-growing online audience’s needs.

  4. Swarmofbees – actually, they cleaned up the layout quite a bit by removing unneeded background colors, blocking stories out more cleanly, etc.

    It’s a lot subtler than it could have been, but much easier on the eyes than the previous design.

    Now, if only they could follow through on functionality – putting interfaces up front for the calendar search and other database tools – they’d have a more-useful site. We shouldn’t have to drill so hard for fast access to info that helps us plan a night on the town, a new home, a new car, etc.

  5. I haven’t found the Times any easier – they’re trying to cram too much info on top, which even with my MTV and Craigslist trained eye just appears as a bunch of text.

    Indeed, the Times does need to adapt. To their credit, the blogs they do have are awesome. But a lot of their efforts to go “web 2.0” appears more like pandering than a true effort at making a better paper.

    What they need to do is take a lead from dedicating college sports blogs to individual schools (“All Things Trojan” for USC & “Whats Bruin” for UCLA) and begin creating community specific news blogs.

  6. In my current field of web consulting – user experience design – “easier” just means they no longer use the insane jumble of colors and font and link styles they once did. The site itself is no more usable than before – kind of my point. :)

    And bingo on the idea of community news blogs – though unless they open it up (as they’re rumored to be considering) they’re gonna have to shift plenty of reporting resources to local coverage.

  7. They still don’t have an RSS feed for health news. What the heck is that all about? I find it hard to believe that they can’t set up an RSS feed for every section.

  8. is it wrong to want a traditional newspaper to be a traditional newspaper. i enjoy the on-line opportunity to read the paper, but i don’t actually care if the paper itself become web 2.0. if it was a pdf of every print page, i’d be fine with it.

    i think having several forms of independently operated media is better than one, imalgum or media-ness operating under whatever today’s web 2.0 -aphilics decide is How Media Must Operate To Truly Inform And Serve Mankind.

  9. Two weeks ago I deleted the Times from my bookmarks. I’ve had enough of their ads that have broken “skip this ad” buttons.

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