Among its new features, the redesigned Knoxnews.com website spotlights content from two of the E.W. Scripps Co.’s national digital initiatives.
One is DecodeDC, produced in the Scripps Washington bureau. The project began as a series of podcasts by founder Andrea Seabrook, who joined Scripps after several years at NPR, where she was Congressional correspondent and hosted Weekend All Things Considered. Its mission now has broadened to become a multimedia narrative tool to “help Americans understand how crucial political issues affect everyday life.”
Scene from DecodeDC’s explanation of a lame duck.
Decode DC isn’t afraid to put some attitude and humor in its reports, as reflected in a series of “exit interviews” of outgoing members of Congress and a recent video explaining lame ducks featured on Knoxnews.com today.
Another initiative is Newsy, a multisource video news service. Scripps acquired the Columbia, Mo.-based startup late last year. Chairman Rich Boehne describes it as “a next-generation news network designed and built exclusively for digital audiences.”
The two projects are part of Scripps’ strategy to build a national news brand that enhances local content and captures a slice of the broader digital news audience.
Our new website launched about 5:30 p.m. today. So far, so good. No crashes!
The site has an entirely new look. For one thing, the black background that was so controversial when we launched our old version, is now gone. This is a standard black-type-on-white-background look, which I prefer.
A big difference is the site’s “responsive design,” which means the display adjusts to the device being used. There are desktop, tablet and smartphone presentations. The real benefit is on the smartphone, which, of course, is the most ubiquitous screen. The old mobile version of Knoxnews.com was pretty much just a list of headlines. This version is much more graphically rich.
The new site also combines our three websites: Knoxnews.com, Knoxville.com and GoVolsXtra.com into one, although Knoxville.com and GoVolsXtra.com will retain their domain names.
Just before the switch, I did a screen grab of the old site on my iPad, to save for posterity. It is displayed here, along with a very early display of the new site.
Old version of site on July 22, 2014
New version of site on July 22, 2014
Visitors to the News Sentinel often comment on our “new” building, even though it has been 12 years since we moved in. Happily, our space off Western Avenue is still sharp and shiny, just like new.
Things change more quickly in the world of technology than in the realm of real estate, however. Our “new” website was launched in 2007, when about 10 million Americans had smartphones and digital tablets were still on Steve Jobs’ drawing board.
Today, two-thirds of Americans rely on smartphones, and there are some 100 million tablets in use in the U.S.
In response to this shift, the News Sentinel next week is rolling out a new website designed with the mobile Internet in mind.
The site will have a whole new look that will display perfectly on smartphones, tablets and desktop computers alike. It uses a technology called “responsive design,” which means that Knoxnews.com will know what sort of device you are using and adjust to match.
For the first time, too, readers will be able comment on stories using mobile devices.
Overall, the site has a cleaner, simpler look. The navigation is easier, with quick access to weather information linking to a 12-day forecast and weather alerts.
The search function, which admittedly had problems as our old site aged, should be much improved once all of our archived stories move onto the new website and are indexed. Unfortunately, because we are switching to a new commenting system, we won’t be able to transfer the comments attached to those old stories.
One thing I especially like about the new site is its livelier, more-visual presentation. Photos, videos and slideshows are highlighted. The site also pulls together all the elements of stories – text, pictures, videos, maps and graphics – into integrated packages for easy reading.
The News Sentinel’s special franchise content will be readily available, too.
In the past, Vols coverage and information about things to do were on our separate GoVolsXtra.com and Knoxville.com websites. Now that content will be built right into the Knoxnews.com site, although those other domain names still will exist.
The launch is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. As in the past, some of the content on the new site will be available to all visitors, while subscribers will have access to the entire site and be able to comment on stories, as well.
If you are a subscriber, when you try to access premium content for the first time or comment on a story, you will be asked to log in. Simply type in your account user name and password. Often the user name is your email address, and if you have forgotten your password, no worries. There will be a link to help you recover it.
When you begin exploring the new site, try putting your cursor on the “Sections” button on the top navigation bar. You’ll then see the links to GoVolsXtra, Knoxville.com and all of our other content areas. Check out the “helpful links” box, too, for direct links to read obituaries, sign up for a subscription or reach the newsroom.
We believe in East Tennessee, and we’re very excited to be making this investment in the future of news and information in the Knoxville area.
This is our new digital home, and we are eager to welcome you to it. Visit as soon as you can.
Tennessee Football 2014
The News Sentinel’s latest iBook, “Tennessee Football 2014,” is now on sale. The preseason price is $0.99.
This interactive guide to this year’s Vol team features more than 400 photos, an introductory video, links to players and coaches’ Twitter accounts, an Instagram feed, profiles, schedules and more.
The book will be updated as the Vols’ season unfolds.
There’s a direct link to purchase the book in iTunes, and it also can be found by searching in the iBooks store.