Birmingham Mail relaunch

So, one of the rather major things that happened last week was that our sister paper, The Birmingham Mail, launched its new website.

Snazzy, eh? A big improvement, certainly. The coverage so far from the Press Gazette, journalism.co.uk and holdthefrontpage seems pretty good too.

Bounder has also provided some fantastic constructive criticism. This made me smile:

One problem that illustrates the peculiarity and the difference about content online is the journalists/subs use of “today”, “tomorrow” etc. in headlines – we don’t have the context online that we have with the physical copies “is that today’s Mail?”. Use of airy times online, where content can stay on a page for longer, means that “FOUR unsigned Midland bands are battling it out in Birmingham tonight” can’t work.

Sometimes it is the most simple of things that can elude us.

Now it is no secret, and in fact is announced in the above articles, that the new Birmingham Post website is due to launch this month. As part of the preparations, I’m going to move off of editorial for a few weeks and help with the website project.

It’s also no secret that the basic template that The Post site will use will be the same as The Mail, although we do have a certain amount of room for manoeuvre.

So, with the Mail doing the hard part and launching first, I’d be interested in what, if anything, we could do better?

Obviously, I can’t promise that it’ll be possible to implement it (we are already working from the suggestions that were given here previously). But, well, in the spirit of friendly rivalry it would be nice if we could do a little better than them!

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6 Responses to “Birmingham Mail relaunch”


  1. 1 bounder February 4, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    I hope the Post’s layout will be cleaner – perhaps more text rather than pictures.

    No truncated articles.

    Journalist pages/feeds – so we can follow our favourites 😉

  2. 2 Pete Ashton February 5, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    left a comment on the editor’s blog, hit submit and it vanished. Presumably it’s in moderation but some indication of success or otherwise would be nice.

  3. 3 joannageary February 6, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Yes, I noticed that too (yours is there now, I think.

    I posted one at about 9pm at night and it didn’t appear until after 7am the following day. As most of the Mail staff (it being an evening paper) are gone by 6pm, and a new shift doesn’t start until 7am, that would make sense.

    But you’re right, a “your comments are being held until moderated” button would be good.

  4. 4 Stef Lewandowski February 6, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    And it looks like it’s Movable Type in the blogs. Here’s me thinking WordPress had won that platform war…

    And Technorati in the sidebar on a local news(paper?) site – ‘whodathunkit’?

    And an ‘epaper’ version? Nice – http://epaper.icmidlands.co.uk/

    A few minor bits here and there – the ‘rate this’ should be at the bottom of the article – “I haven’t read it yet”, for instance. http://www.birminghammail.net/what-is-on-in-birmingham/theatre-in-birmingham/2008/02/01/wedding-singer-on-the-stage-97319-20424024/

    On the whole it’s not the prettiest site visually, but the Mail isn’t the prettiest newspaper – it’s not supposed to be. I might give this one a review on my own blog- some interesting thoughts coming out of this.

    Stef

  5. 5 Pete Ashton February 6, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    MT is generally seen as a business blogging platform and it is a pretty decent piece of kit if you want something more akin to a CMS. In the end though I suspect the management trust something with a price tag over free.

    Possibly less frequent upgrades too. WP seems to release bug fixes a he’ll of a lot. MT might not be so flexible but it’s pretty stable.

  6. 6 David Black February 9, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Stef/Pete – We are big fans of both MT and WordPress – they are both great at what they do, and we spent quite a while looking at each. (And several of the team use WordPress or MT for their own blogs.) MT had the edge for us in some of the tools needed to manage a network of several hundred blogs. And it’s been pretty flexible for the kinds of things we’ve been experimenting with, too: from blogs, to blog-based newspaper sites, to hyperlocal sites.


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