THE Bivings Group took another look at The Use of the Internet by America’s Largest Newspapers , and compiled a list of 2008’s top five Newspaper sites. Newspapers selected were among the 100 largest in the U.S., and in addition to being judged by their abundance of web features, were graded on design and easy usability. Check out last year’s list to see who’s staying strong Online.
1. The New York Times
The New York Times site manages to combine classic style with managing a frequent onslaught of new web features, and dropping the site’s pricey “Times Select” has helped to expand the Times’ already massive Online readership. Recent additions include “Times Extra,” which aggregates headlines from other news outlets and adds them to each section.
2. The Washington Post
Buried in The Washington Post’s crowded homepage are some of the best efforts at direct user interactivity to be found among newspaper websites. The Post’s rudimentary but innovative Live Online feature allows users to interact in real-time with Post writers and special guests, and users can customize their homepage to feature either Washington-based or national news.
3. The Wall Street Journal
The recent Wall Street Journal website’s redesign has widened the publication’s audience and its content, but its web efforts are still aimed at hard-hitting financial news. Registered-user features allow readers to track their individual investments, personalize their news feeds and sign up for breaking news financial alerts, but some articles still require payment.
4. The Florida Times-Union
This under 150,000-circulation features an unconventional, slick design with a big focus on user participation and social networking. The homepage features viral video and the unusual strategy of featuring staff blogs. Users who register can start their own blogs and are guided by WikiJax, a right-hand navigation that explains the many user features step-by-step.
5. The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Philadelphia Inquirer gets props for experimenting with “e-Inquirer,” a web-based edition of the print paper that will come into your e-mail box each morning with along with links to Online content, top news summaries and the option to hear audio versions of articles. “E-Inquirer” is available for a two-week trial period followed by a $2.25/week subscription rate. It’ll be interesting how this web-print combination fares among readers.