Thursday, July 24, 2008

Look what she did!

She may have been sweating blood and renting the air with her imprecations against the befuddled masses of middle-management but, according to Roy Greenslade, it was all worth it:

Look at the new Daily Mirror website that began rolling out today. It's not only a genuine departure from its former site but amounts to a totally new approach to all the newspaper sites I've ever seen.

I could say that the paper's online designers have thought outside the box. In fact, it appears that they've thought inside several boxes, because interchangeable boxes form the key element to the top half of the homepage.

Clearly, this allows for maximum flexibility because the blocks can be arranged in any format to fit the news agenda. In a sense, it's rather like the modular layout of a newsprint paper, which allows for the easy expansion of a single column into double or treble columns without disturbing the template.

So, on the page I downloaded a couple of minutes ago, there were three small "single column boxes" above a larger treble-column box with the main story of the day (Jeremy Kyle's car crash escape). Below that was a smaller single column box next to a double column box. The formula repeated further down too.

Presumably, if a really major international story breaks, all the blocks can be joined together to devote the whole top of the page to it.

Underneath the boxes are six lists of stories, broken up by different interests. On the right-hand side at the top is the news video, linked on this occasion to the main story by showing the Kyle crash scene. More videos are listed below.

I was warned by someone who had seen a screengrab in advance that it was "horrific". I have to say it doesn't strike me like that at all. My initial reaction, and I haven't changed my mind, was that the Mirror was deliberately trying a bold new approach. (I see my colleague, Jemima Kiss, takes a similar view). She notes that the design work was carried out by the Spanish consultancy, Cases i Associates, which was also responsible for the Mirror's newsprint revamp.

I think they've done a much better job online than with the paper. Once you get used to how it is organised, the mass of colour is less daunting than it appears at first sight. It also works like a dream. I tried the search option, and it worked better than before. The columnists were easier to locate but the promise of bloggers was less satisfactory.

Of course, things will get better. But I think, overall, it promises more than The Sun's altogether less radical revamp.

Well done, by Christ!

On a different and altogether more hilarious tip, here's Giles Coren's letter to the Times' subs. He's pretty angry:


I am mightily pissed off. I have addressed this to Owen, Amanda and Ben because I don't know who i am supposed to be pissed off with (i'm assuming owen, but i filed to amanda and ben so it's only fair), and also to Tony, who wasn't here - if he had been I'm guessing it wouldn't have happened.

I don't really like people tinkering with my copy for the sake of tinkering. I do not enjoy the suggestion that you have a better ear or eye for how I want my words to read than I do. Owen, we discussed your turning three of my long sentences into six short ones in a single piece, and how that wasn't going to happen anymore, so I'm really hoping it wasn't you that fucked up my review on saturday.

And on and on it goes. I've worked wearing both helmets, as it were, so I can see both points of view. But he does protest a tad too much. His gag, such as it was, is so subtle as to be non-existent and also largely lame. I'm not at all sure that the butchery of which he complains didn't ever-so-slightly improve things. Actually, if it was up to me, I'd have changed it to 'a-noshing'.


Barrie said...

Cable & Wireless offloads pension liabilities in 1bn-dollar deal with
Prudential. P28


Giles Coren says his infamous email tirades have not caused him
trouble, but in fact made him 'world famous'. Diary P31
So an email leak that should have been squirm-inducingly embarrassing, is instead a career-maker. The journo's equivalent of a celebrity sextape.

lee said...

on a completely unrelated tip, where do you put your google analytics code? I gave it a go, and since then I've had no visitors. I'm sure my traffic is vanishingly, shamingly small, but still, zero? I'm must have done it wrong.

If you it'll put you in a more solicitous frame of mind, I cleared up my desktop as you suggested, and things have speeded up almost noticably....