Steve Outing reports Knight Ridder has backed off from its strategy of applying the same design to several Web sites in its chain. (Example: The Miami Herald vs. The San Jose Mercury News vs. The Kansas City Star.) Here are the only design details the article provides:
Local newspapers in the KR chain now have more control over their own Web sites -- with the ability to decide for themselves (mostly) what they wish to emphasize (city.com vs. newspaper.com) and more control over how their sites look. They have more options for making the sites best reflect their communities, rather than be saddled with a corporate-wide design.
Despite the fact that there were a few too many "more"s and "mostly"s in there -- and not enough "all"s or "completely"s -- it's good to see Knight Ridder's changing its tune. As many have said before, the current sites are completely devoid of character, horrid examples of cookie-cutter design. (One KR online editor was so frustrated he wrote a letter to his readers apologizing for the design and explaining his helplessness.)
This is great news. I hope it doesn't take long for the sites to redesign.
Posted by Rob on July 19, 2002, at 6:19 a.m.:
Good news, indeed. When I went to a Knight-Ridder site, I tended to give less credibility to the content as a direct result of the generic design. If I wanted something that looked like that, I'd go read the AP Wire. I'm glad they're finally figuring out that local branding and individuality is important -- more important than standardization. This sounds like a situation ripe for the two-sport star; someone who understands that both design and development are essential and can coexist with each other.
Posted by Sara on July 19, 2002, at 5:03 p.m.:
Hallelujah! When I worked for a Knight-Ridder paper, I was constantly embarrassed by the Web site. Giving the creative people a chance to stretch a bit, rather than basic production all the time, will probably result in good things.
Also, I've never really understood the concept of a newspaper chain trying to make their sites all the same. It might make chain-wide changes easier to carry out, but it makes more sense for each newspaper should have its own feel, based on the city and the readers.
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