Star Tribune publisher: New website design launches this week

  • Article by: MICHAEL J. KLINGENSMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 5, 2011 - 12:03 AM

It's just one of the ways we're evolving to accommodate our readers in a world full of media options.

Michael Klingensmith

Michael Klingensmith

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If you picked up our beautiful special section kicking off the baseball season last week, you noticed that even a sport as traditional as baseball is evolving to embrace the digital age.

How we cover baseball has changed, too.

Our reporters who have been with the Twins at spring training this year (where I also spent a few days) still wrote traditional stories and snapped photos, of course. You saw those in the printed paper.

They also delivered news via tweets, posted to blogs, snapped videos and hosted sports talk shows -- which fans might have found on cell phones, tablets or laptops.

Across our entire 1,100-person organization, from sales representatives in advertising to the reporters in our newsroom, we know that a huge part of our future lies in this rapidly changing digital world, and we are making some significant investments to secure that future.

Tuesday, you'll see the first of many such investments when we launch a new website, with a bold new design, improved speed and better search functionality. Let us know what you think.

Over six months in the works, the new site is the largest digital project we have undertaken in many years. We've made this investment because we want our readers and visitors to have the best regional news site in the country.

Our printed paper is still very important to us, and we have made other major investments this year to improve the quality of the journalism and the photography that you see every day.

Our website, however, is one of the fastest-growing ways the Star Tribune Media Company reaches its audience.

In 2010, traffic to the Star Tribune website grew by 15 percent as more of you turned to the Web for breaking news and information. Our servers rang up over 171 million visits to sports stories and breaking news, opinion and politics, entertainment and obituaries.

To put that in perspective: That's 40 percent of all page visits to media sites in the Twin Cities.

With so many of you depending on us for information, we believe you deserve a world-class website, one that matches the quality of our content and the expectations of readers.

The new site you will see this week makes it easier to find and access the content you are looking for, whether it's coverage of the Twins, an earnings report on a local Fortune 500 company or reports from the statehouse.

You'll also find that it features more of our video and outstanding photography.

We have also improved the site for our advertisers by cleaning up the advertising space, making it more impactful for advertising and less crowded for readers.

There are fewer ads on the pages, and the ones that remain are given appropriate prominence. We are also releasing some new innovations for all of our advertising partners.

The website redesign is part of an investment strategy that ensures that the Star Tribune will continue to serve Minnesotans with thoughtful, current, deep and meaningful news and information, 24 hours a day, for many years to come.

This is just the first of many investments in our digital future. We are already fast at work on a digital paper you can read on mobile tablets, as well as new products for mobile phones. You'll see some of those later this year.

And while we believe that much of the future of media is going to be digital, we know that readers seek out good information from sources they trust. A beautiful website isn't meaningful without compelling content.

We are proud to have the state's largest newsroom with 265 professional journalists working hard to bring great content to our readers in whatever form they choose to read it, in today's Sunday paper, on a computer, on their cell phone or on a mobile tablet.

The Star Tribune has been a trusted source of information for the state of Minnesota for 140 years; our readers can have faith that we are making the investments we need to be the news source you depend on for many more years to come.

This transition to the digital age is both challenging and exciting; it may well turn out to be one of the most creative periods for news organizations in our history.

Michael J. Klingensmith is the Star Tribune's publisher and CEO.

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