In a move that could be a harbinger of an online-only news transformation, the Los Angeles Times uncovered a Web site redesign this morning. The new site is more reader-accessible, with the navigation bar moved to the top of the page from its previous position on the left side of the screen. And the larger, monochrome font, switched from Arial to Georgia, makes the blog — uh, newspaper site — less cluttered.
In the Times’ web announcement, managing editor Meredith Artley outlined other changes, including an improved video player and a modular homepage, allowing for easier scrolling and headline skimming.
But given that Tribune Co., the Times’ parent company and the owner of other newspapers across the country such as the Chicago Tribune and the Baltimore Sun, is mired in debt upwards of $400 million, the improved Web site could indicate a more aggressive push to publish news content without a print edition.
And when traffic to the LA Times site grew 66 percent in the past year to 10.2 million unique views per month despite declining print readership, the conclusion of Artley’s online announcement seems prophetic:
Our work is not done. We approached this redesign as another step in the evolution of the Los Angeles Times, as a building block for more things to come.
At least the Web site’s homepage isn’t yet riddled with banner advertisements. Times’ publishers are still leaving that to the jumbled, crowded print edition.