Courtesy of Jack Lail, Managing Editor of MultiMedia for the Knoxville News Sentinel, I've just seen a preview of the new KNS website.
It's pretty slick. Some folks may not notice that much of a difference (because it keeps the same look and feel which is smart), but it loads faster, gets rid of the Flash headline section, and is very nicely laid out.
Interesting that it has longer blurbs from the feature stories in each section, which is nice. No comment on who decides what's the feature. I imagine the editorial discussions leading to that decision are interesting and fun, and have been going on since the inception of newspapers.
Oh, and HUGE BONUS: Every article now has a reader comment section. Major props to the KNS on that. (Except that it might put local blogs out of business!)
I also got a preview of the new (and free) GoVolsXtra site. I never saw the old site before, but the new (free) site is very nice. There's also a letter to subscribers stating the KNS's appreciation for their past support in making it a big success and detailing the process for credits for pre-paid subscribers going forward with the new free site.
The knoxnews.com domain name will point to the new servers and layout at approx. 7:30 AM tomorrow. There were still some broken sections in the preview, which is to be expected in such a major overhaul, but I'm guessing Jack and crew are working furiously through the night to ensure a smooth transition and a seamless user experience for the big debut tomorrow.
I also like that the "opinion" section has been renamed "blogs/opinion", a nod to the the new wave of internet journalism and Web 2.0. Or something like that.
And it appears the free registration requirements will be dropped concurrent with the new site design that launches tomorrow.
P.S. The site is indeed built using a Django derivitive called Ellington (sometimes referred to as Django/Ellington according to Jack), which is "an online publishing system designed from the ground up for media sites" according to Ellington's website. Smart use of open source software. Another nod to the KNS/Scripps technical folks.
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