Friday, 29 August 2008

TorSun website

The Toronto Sun will unveil a revamped website Sept. 8 and we're wondering if the new direction will be closer to a true Internet newspaper.

The Toronto Sun hasn't fully captured the essence of the Internet - news when it happens and instant reader communication with staff.

Here's our Top 10 suggestions for

1 - More news as it happens, not at 4 a.m. after the print edition hits the streets, and include the time of an update to show how current the information is online. Plus, add a clock.

2 - Make it easier for visitors to find the e-mail addresses of every reporter, columnist and photographer for beefs, bouquets or news tips.

3 - Use more photos with online stories. Our pet peeve: online stories about missing or most wanted people and there are no photos. Amateur night.

4 - Provide web links to outside sources mentioned in stories, columns and features that would benefit readers. Use sparingly, with the interests of readers in mind.

5 - Call us territorial, but when we go looking for Sun Media blogs to read, we want to know the location of the bloggers - before we click on their site.

6 - As a courtesy to older readers who never adapted to metric, add Fahrenheit to the Current Conditions weather info. It takes up so little space and would be appreciated.

7 - On the About Us page, you might want to drop the outdated 2005 circulation figures and provide e-mail links for all of the Toronto Sun and Sun Media execs listed.

8 - Add dollar exchange and metric converters to the Money section. It is surprising how many TSF readers have used a link to a metric converter mentioned months ago.

9 - When Toronto Sun staffers win awards, include links to their winning news stories, columns or photos. They've done you proud, so flaunt their prize-winning efforts.

10 - On the home page, provide links to the news, sports, entertainment, financial and comment editors for easy access. Don't force visitors to spend time searching for e-mail addresses.

In a nutshell, if Sun Media wants to promote the transition to online newspapers it should utilize all benefits of the Internet.

On a scale of one to 10, today is at 5, where the Globe and Mail and Star (it has revamped its online front page) are 8s. and the National Post a 7.

The Sun's Sept. 8 update will have to be a showstopper to boost its online appeal.

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