Extreme home makeovers? Been there, done that. Extreme media makeovers? The concept may not be a part of our daily vocabulary, but consider, if you will, the implications. More so than any other industry, the media industry must constantly evolve by merging technology and new forms of communication to provide accurate, up-to-the-minute news. While many of the nation’s top media sources make a concerted effort to keep with the times, others subject themselves to playing catch up in jerky leaps and bounds. Thus, the extreme media makeover is born.
Consider Philly.com, home of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, which has been hamstrung by an outdated news template. Publisher Brian Tierney himself called the website “crap” during a speech back in March – despite acknowledging it as the leading website in the market. In the same speech, however, he also shared a vision for a new website that would be more intuitive for readers and reporters alike.
The wait is over. This month, Philly.com unveiled a dramatic facelift that makes a strong effort to bring it up to date in format and style. Particularly striking about the new website are the multiple modes of news communication that extend well beyond the traditional capacities of a daily newspaper: a prominently featured multimedia section, online chats, audio segments, and links to more than a dozen Inquirer and Daily News blogs. The homepage reflects a changing media landscape and increasing pressure to integrate an ever growing array of communications tools in a manner that is both complementary and comprehensive.
The Philly.com facelift is the first in a series of planned updates that will (we hope) bring it up to par with the nation’s best (New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post). An informal office poll largely favors the new iteration (with one colleague adamantly preferring the old template), but all agree there is still much improvement left.
In any case, my hat’s off to you, Philly.com. You’re finally joining the new age of conversation.