Ben Cohen

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Designing A New Type Of News Site

The first thing I noticed on AnnArbor.com is, well, the first thing I was supposed to notice. The bare home page doesn’t even try to do the traditional newspaper editor’s job of defining which stories are the most important or pressing. It’s simply a time-sequenced river of news. Think of it as Times Wire, except without the choice to click back to The New York Times’ spiffy home page. This is the home page.

It might not be what readers expected when Tony Dearing, AnnArbor.com’s chief content officer, promised a site “different from anything you’ve ever seen,” but maybe it should have been. “Somehow, that has the connotation of this fantastic, super-futuristic, dancing-women, fireworks-going-off site,” Dearing told me. “And really, I meant it in the opposite way. It’s going to be very different, but in a simple, understated way that news sites traditionally have not gone.”

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Filed under: Nieman Lab

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