Gawker Media’s redesign Pt. 2

Posted on February 24, 2011

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2. Big posts with the highest viewership will be based around images or videos. Sometimes, on slow news days (like today), that involves a video of Kim Kardashian doing a keg stand or a gross picture of a basically naked sunburnt woman.  But on days when they break scandals like the congressman sending topless pictures to a woman from a Craigslist personal ad, or silly drunk pics of Christine O’Donnell, it makes sense.

3. They’re taking a new approach to advertising—advertisements will be inserted in between posts on  the main panel, to give advertisers as much visual room as they could possibly want and to offer those ads the same gravity as the actual posts on the site.  Gawker’s also planning to push certain types of stories—the example given was Lifehacker’s personal finances coverage—at certain times of the day or week, to offer advertisers the opportunity to target certain audiences.

However, critics of the site are skeptical about the new redesign, and it strikes me as a pretty cynical move.  Here, the bottom line runs the site, not the user experience—Gawker seems to have made it easier for advertisers to use the site to their advantage, rather than readers.  Then again, the advertisers pay the salary of the content creators (what people have come to call journalists with alarming regularity these days), so could such a focus on ease-of-advertising be the future for news sites?

The Neiman lab notes, however, that media critic  and new media consultant (?) Rex Sorgatz sees this as a wrong move for Gawker, and former Gawker editor Gabriel Snyder noticed a drop in readership on some of Gawker Media’s smaller sites.  So who are the winners and the losers in this redesign?

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Posted in: Journalism