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Monday, March 05, 2007

The New News

Updated Below

This post is a placeholder of sorts; I'll update it later on after I've had a chance to peruse the Buffalo News's new website. Longtime readers know that I've long found the current incarnation of Buffalonews.com to be a joke, but they are apparently finally moving into 2007, with a page that updates more than once per day and including blogs and other cool stuff. They go live later this morning, and I won't be able to look at it until later this afternoon after I get home from work.

Between now and then, feel free to use the Comments thread here to voice opinions of the new News site.

UPDATE: Or don't use the comments here to say anything. Sheesh.

As for the News site: I like the initial look. I'm sure it will change a lot over the next few months as things are tweaked, but the overall visual look is orders of magnitude better than the old site. The old version crammed everything together toward the left of the browser window, with lots of empty space at the right; so much stuff was jammed together that navigation was difficult; and most annoyingly, the day's content went up all at once, at 9:00 am every day. (Thus making pre-work online newspaper reading impossible in this town.)

Now, the new site has a much more elegant and open design. The actual organization is actually similar to the old site, but it's more spread out, with the paper's sections listed across the top of the page (just below the masthead), and with mouseover menus used as well. They do need to work on story formatting a bit, I see; take this article from yesterday's edition on fiddler Natalie MacMaster. The article had a sidebar with MacMaster's discography, but the sidebar isn't mentioned in the story and it's only linked in a fairly easy-to-overlook menu halfway down the page containing "More Entertainment Stories". They need to work more on getting articles that are clearly meant to be taken together linked as such on the Website.

The blogs are interesting as well, although without exception they all need to evolve a bit. Writing on a blog is different from writing for a newspaper, and the initial entries of each blog exhibit "New Blogger Syndrome", wherein new bloggers just kind of fumble about a bit in short form until they settle into their natural "blog voice". (And yes, I went through that syndrome as well; you can go back to the first month or so of entries here and see for yourself, if you don't believe me.) Lots of them seem to want their blog content to basically advertise their print content (either existing or forthcoming), and a few times they forget the formatting (in blogging, you really need to put a double-return between paragraphs). But that's all "baby steps" kind of stuff. That they accept comments is a welcome sign; hopefully they'll link others as well.

(By the way, one of the posts I read over there referred to a topic the writer will specifically "blog" about sometime soon, and that got me thinking about the verb "blog". When I say that I "blog", I use it as a general type of verb, a collective verb if you will, to refer to the general act of maintaining a blog or putting content on the blog or whatever. However, when I'm thinking of a specific topic or even formulate a specific post in my head, then I don't think of "blogging" that topic, but rather posting about it. I wouldn't say "I'll blog about Pirates of the Caribbean later", but rather, "I'll post about Pirates later". I'm not mentioning this as a complaint, mind you; it's just a bit of grammatical fluff that suddenly lodged in my head.)

Anyhow, if any of my three Buffalo-based readers hail from the News, welcome to Blogistan!

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