Jun 27 2007
06:48 pm

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 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.

JustJohnny's picture

Ellington Open Source?

Ellington licenses go for $15,000 and up --per site. While django, the framework, is open-source, ellington is not. The two, contrary to the moniker django/ellington, are very different. That is almost like saying 'php/drupal' when referring to drupal.

Anyhow --a free version of something much like ellington is floating around the campus at UT and could be found running other local news site. Yes --that one is open source, unlike ellington. Not that I have anything against ellington --I just feel that smaller papers will have a hard time swallowing the bill that comes with it. Again, I refer folks to and (the later being more advanced) as examples.

The folks down in the Scripps Bat Cave in west knoxville know more about django than I could ever learn --perhaps some'll chime in on this?

Mykhailo's picture

. While django, the

. While django, the framework, is open-source, ellington is not.

On the Ellington homepage, one of the "Key Features of Ellington": Open source, secure access.

Then, from the FAQ:
If you want to customize the source code of Ellington itself, a source code license is available as a one-time additional fee of 50% of the initial license cost. Purchasing a source code license allows you to modify and extend Ellington's code to suit your needs.

I'm no big fan of Richard Stallman, but that makes even me throw up a little in my mouth.

bellvis's picture

The Django/Ellington moniker

The Django/Ellington moniker comes about because both projects share core developers. If I go to an open-source conference, I can pretty much corner the same small set of developers to get answers on both subjects. Google is your friend. You can find a short discussion on the topic here.

JustJohnny's picture


..I hadn't noticed that. Looks like they are trying to market buzz words.

Tried to get a copy of their 'open source' stuff for tnjn early last spring and was laughed off the phone.

If you buy the license, your right ---you still dont have access to the code. From what I remember, scripps did do the extra 50% so they could manage the core ellington code base, though, I may be wrong on that.

R. Neal's picture

Sorry, I just saw "open

Sorry, I just saw "open source" bullet. Didn't read the fine print. Thanks for the clarification.

By the way, the Seymour Herald site is pretty aweseome. Haven't had time to fully explore it yet (and didn't even know there was such a thing) but so far it looks great.

mrvlknxor's picture

Opinion will be blocked by blog filters?

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.

I hope this will not block opinion section by filters such as those in use in Oak Ridge that do not allow access to KNS blogs.

bizgrrl's picture

I also got a preview of the

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.

Will you be asked to leave town if you have never viewed the GoVolsXtra site?

JustJohnny's picture


Wow -- Rneal was right! The new knoxnews site does far surpass the previous version! Kudos to the web crew over there!

Elrod's picture

Now we can see the close-up picture of the child molestor!

Sorry, I had to be snarky. The new website looks great. Unfortunately, the news content is as irrelevant as ever.

UPDATE: Oh, wait a minute. They changed the picture. Now it's a firefighter. Well, I'd rather see that one...

bellvis's picture

Child Mole-ster

What, you didn't like the image of the giant mole on his forehead? At least I hope it's a mole.

Mykhailo's picture

The Django/Ellington moniker

The Django/Ellington moniker comes about because both projects share core developers.

I spent a little time last night reading about the two. The Django project appears to have been founded and continues to be run with a real spirit of sharing and community and openness, while Ellington comes across as almost a parody of corporate co-opting of the whole free software thing. Yet they're the same people, which is rather odd.

JustJohnny's picture


Open source the software and charge for consulting fees --thats the end run on ellington. These guys give you django and say --go forth and build something great. They offer you ellington right after that, saying "we've built what your looking for". And they have, for the most part.

A good example of django working on its own, sans the BIG E, is Holovaty's projects at the site. From that, it is quiet clear django, paired with a skilled geek, can do just fine alone.

Keeping django open source helps ensure that there is a vibrant 'mindshare' invested in the project while protecting their investment by 'licensing' ellington.

Still, I say, keeping the two together as a single name for a product is silly. If your going to do that why not call it python/django/ellington? Or maybe a simplier name is in store ---like 'djefferson', which is what scripps seems to be calling their customized flavor of the ellington cms.

Mykhailo's picture

If your going to do that why

If your going to do that why not call it python/django/ellington?

It's not Django, it's GNU/Django.

bob stepno's picture

A little Django trivia...

A little Django trivia... Jazz fans get the riffing on "Django/Ellington," but did you know one of the program's developers is becoming a YouTube star with videos of his own Django-influenced guitar playing?

By the way, I've suggested they call dJohnny Dobbins' contributions "Basie," as a basic small combo approach to building news sites -- rather than the expensive full orchestration of "Ellington."

Johnny and Jim Stovall also were talking about calling it "Satchmo," which would be cool too -- Louis Armstrong's horn playing actually inspired Django in the thirties -- but there's already a pretty active Satchmo ecommerce-with-Django project.

Mykhailo's picture

Just Johnny -- if you're

Just Johnny -- if you're still here, I sent an email to you several months ago, but never got a reply and things didn't get fixed, so I guess you didn't get it. Anyway, you forgot to turn off the Django debugging error messages on

edit: didn't dredge up this thread just for that -- RN must have deleted the spam that brought it up to the top.

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