McElroy: News Sentinel redesigns Web sites

This week the News Sentinel launches a redesign of its two largest Web sites: knoxnews.com and govolsxtra.com.

The sites will sport a new "look and feel" as well as new functionality.

One change will be in the handling of the comments at the ends of stories. This has been a hot topic for the past year or two.

Some readers love the comments, seeing them as vigorous civic dialog that reflects the democratization of the media. Others hate them, finding them inane, boorish and toxic. They wonder why the newspaper has lowered its standards to allow them.

Several weeks ago, the News Sentinel held a community "round table" discussion of the issue, and that figured into plans for the new site.

Now visitors who dislike comments will be able to turn them off. After they make that choice, they will no longer have to see any comments on knoxnews.com and govolsxtra.com, at least as long as they log on from the same computers.

At the same time, users who enjoy comments will find it easier to respond to others and to upload photos and videos to share.

The redesign offers other opportunities for customization, too. Readers, for example, can select what type of news - business, local, sports, etc. - they would like displayed most prominently when they log on.

Overall, the new sites are bolder and easier to scan. The type is bigger, and photos are presented in a more engaging manner.

The site features "pull-down" menus that make it easier to navigate, and other subtle changes make the sites easier to use. Content, for instance, will be better grouped by subject, so related text, photographs and multimedia will be right at hand.

The Weather section will be enhanced so information is easier to access. There will be individual weather maps and forecasts, too, for towns and neighborhoods throughout the region such as Halls, Farragut, Maryville and Oak Ridge.

Videos will be presented in a richer environment where viewers can easily scan choices and arrange selections according to the most-viewed and highest-rated videos.

Photo galleries will be another area of improvement. Instead of viewing just one photo at a time, users will see thumbnail previews of entire photo galleries. Once expanded, photos will be presented in a larger, richer display than before.

The mobile version of the Web sites also will be much improved. Under our old system, users could only see text. But the new mobile editions of knoxnews.com and govolsxtra.com will feature photos and other images as well.

The redesign goes into effect Wednesday, hopefully about 2 p.m.

Stop by for a look. Naturally there will be glitches, though, so please bear with us as we sort them out.

The redesign is part of our ongoing efforts to expand and improve our online offerings.

Just last week we added another feature to knoxnews.com, a database of property appraisals by the Knox County assessor. Not surprisingly, it has proven to be very popular, attracting tens of thousands of searches in its first few days of operation.

I invite readers who are interested to spend a little time exploring the database. And, if you happen to spot any examples of serious inequities in property valuations, alert me. We'll check it out.

You can contact me at editor@knoxnews.com.

As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.

Jack McElroy is editor of the News Sentinel. He may be reached at 865-342-6300, at editor@knews.com or through his blog, The Upfront Page at http://blogs.knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 45

Phowell23 writes:

Cool! Bring it on.

Major_Magilicutty writes:

Ignore button? I like the comments, but I'd like to be able to block out certain users. Overall, still a welcome change.

KCHS63 writes:

First rate websites use monitors. The News-Sentinel thinks the trashier the comments, the more people will read. A lot of Sentinel stories (most are now out of Memphis, Nashville, and Chattanooga)are just to bait volatile comments. How much more money can the KNS save?

gohawks1 writes:

The "turn off" feature is available now and is not something new. ? ? ?

Personally, I want the comments to remain. It's great fun to have trolls and lopers reveal their uncouth disposition with their childish banter. Makes the University of Tennessee more attractive to prospective recruits when they see the uneducated rantings of the gator iggits.

FWBVol writes:

in response to KCHS63:

First rate websites use monitors. The News-Sentinel thinks the trashier the comments, the more people will read. A lot of Sentinel stories (most are now out of Memphis, Nashville, and Chattanooga)are just to bait volatile comments. How much more money can the KNS save?

In fairness to the KNS, the newspaper business isn't like other organizations that utilize websites and most papers don't have the resources to devote to have someone monitoring comments 24 hours a day.

There have been more than 11,000 newspaper jobs that have been cut since the first of the year due to economic hardships, which is why many papers are now sharing stories online. Would it be nice if the KNS could generate all of the online and print stories in house? Yes, but that day is likely gone forever.

By giving readers links to stories from other papers it saves readers the time of surfing to multiple sites. That is the one positive I see in all of this.

mlsoft#228820 writes:

I welcome any and all improvements, but I cannot think of any single improvement more crucial to this particular site than to add an ignore feature. This site is usually unenjoyable due to all the garbage posts.

On any significant story, after the first handful of posts, the subject of the board becomes a childrens shouting match, having little to do with the story. It is no longer any fun to read.

In the absence of an ignore button, at a minimum the site needs to ban posters by using the id number of the computer rather than the poster's screen name.

I cannot emphasize too strongly how detremental to the enjoyment of the site this problem has become.

mlsoft

ctownvol writes:

in response to D_to_the_C:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Although I do despise you, I have to admit I do find the chocolate cake comment rather funny.

panties4tebow writes:

in response to gatorz7:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

AllVol2008#1353998 writes:

I believe it's spelled "dialogue."

chrisw2967 writes:

shouldnt the trolls be getting ready to watch the replay of the ole miss game from last year on css ?

panties4tebow writes:

in response to chrisw2967:

shouldnt the trolls be getting ready to watch the replay of the ole miss game from last year on css ?

Is the Ole Miss win over the lowly gators going to be on CSS?

I would love to see that replay again!!!!!!

BBBBBBBWWWWWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAA

chrisw2967 writes:

in response to panties4tebow:

Is the Ole Miss win over the lowly gators going to be on CSS?

I would love to see that replay again!!!!!!

BBBBBBBWWWWWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAA

at 5 today

chrisw2967 writes:

in response to chrisw2967:

at 5 today

CSS says its the fla ,ole miss game but on the info it says the gayfers and bulldogs,either way the gayfers lost both games.
right now there showing the tn ala game from 06

hotrodvol writes:

in response to mlsoft#228820:

I welcome any and all improvements, but I cannot think of any single improvement more crucial to this particular site than to add an ignore feature. This site is usually unenjoyable due to all the garbage posts.

On any significant story, after the first handful of posts, the subject of the board becomes a childrens shouting match, having little to do with the story. It is no longer any fun to read.

In the absence of an ignore button, at a minimum the site needs to ban posters by using the id number of the computer rather than the poster's screen name.

I cannot emphasize too strongly how detremental to the enjoyment of the site this problem has become.

mlsoft

Mlsoft, I'm afraid the pizzing match that goes on this site will continue. I will still come to this site but it is not the same as it was last year. The trolls have done what they have intended to do and have ruined this site. Now don't get me wrong trolls if you could bring good info to this site I would not care a bit to read your commits.

I've been going to a site lately called tharinger.com. It's a good site with a very good forum, there are fans from across the country, and you will not see the trash talking that goes on on this site. Actually the posters are helpful to each other in getting info. Trust me I will not leave this site because of the fighting back in forth, but the childish remarks back in forth are out of control. We all still want to read the replies but not many of us want to read through junk to get info.

Ok I've rambled on enough and this is a good site for info on the VOLS, Hopefully KNS will make the right changes to this TN site.

BasketVols writes:

in response to D_to_the_C:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Getting a little big in the hips, DC? A girl can't keep her youthful figure forever...

gohawks1 writes:

in response to AllVol2008#1353998:

I believe it's spelled "dialogue."

"Dialog" is an acceptable spelling as well.

This will be on the final exam. :-)

TommyJack writes:

We need a selective ignore button to cull the posers. Real gator/bama fans ok; not so for posers. Cull the posers!

panties4tebow writes:

in response to gatorz7:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So, did you enjoy watching the Ole Miss game again beavis? I did!!!!!!!!!!!!

BBBBWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAA

panties4tebow writes:

in response to gatorz7:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well, you want be included in those with intelligence...you have NONE!!!

MikeInTN writes:

Thank goodness I can now omit the comments!!!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU KNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

utvols420 writes:

where's the Steve McNair coverage?

ctownvol writes:

in response to utvols420:

where's the Steve McNair coverage?

knoxnews.com

voloffaith writes:

No change as an earlier poster said," we already have a turn off comments just b4 you get reading the interesting and the not-so-interesting.

I don't mind free speech ,but some of the 'trolls' really don't want an actual debate,but rather just enjoy being antagonistic for the sake of being antagonistic. I don't care gater7 if you are an accomplished debater or not. You haven't been civil(except the trolls laid off the touching article about Eddie Gran and his family) as I recall. You want dialog then be civil(sad to say that goes for Vol fans also). We have our caustic spewers as well that don't let sleeping dogs lie.

So we want peace we talk the sport and leave the hate and venom out and it will defuse (in time) the majority of the opponent fans who come on this VOL site.

Good evening gents

PepperGrinder (Inactive) writes:

"Now visitors who dislike comments will be able to turn them off."

I love the comments it's just that I am frustrated by the inaction when it comes to the trolls. Instead of just being able to turn them off give us an option to ignore certain posters.

PepperGrinder (Inactive) writes:

in response to gatorz7:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You and DC dont bring much to the table so they wouldnt be missing much.

txvolsfan writes:

in response to gatorz7:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

They assumed you would be at the bail bondsmen for Cryer, getting his thugs out of the slammer!!!

blitzshoot writes:

Gator Posers = Ignore button.

gohawks1 writes:

in response to A_VOICE_OF_REASON:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Heh heh heh... it's SOOOO easy to get a loper riled. Whine, whine, whine, lol!

senracjr writes:

I for one look forword to the ignore button, I can ignore the lopers and those that keep replying to the lopers!

ctownvol writes:

in response to gatorz7:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Are you talking to yourself again? Tick tock.

senracjr writes:

Bye bye troll turds.

Couchdummy writes:

I think an ignore button makes about as much sense as a fart button! If the ignore button is used, what does it do other than remove any postings by the "ignored poster" for that particular article? Subsequent commenters who respond will continue to carry the dialogue about the supressed comment. Am I wrong?

ctownvol writes:

I'm all for it, but if it sounds too good to be true....

gohawks1 writes:

in response to Couchdummy:

I think an ignore button makes about as much sense as a fart button! If the ignore button is used, what does it do other than remove any postings by the "ignored poster" for that particular article? Subsequent commenters who respond will continue to carry the dialogue about the supressed comment. Am I wrong?

Agreed. Anyway, it's so much fun to watch how the trolls get wound up so easily and start whining and crying over so many of the posts of Vols fans. Especially the gator trolls - they start sobbing like a bunch of middle school girls at the drop of a hat. What's not to like?

ctownvol writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Elimainate? I doubt it.

gohawks1 writes:

in response to ctownvol:

Elimainate? I doubt it.

That's eaisy for you to say. :-)

ctownvol writes:

in response to gohawks1:

That's eaisy for you to say. :-)

Good call IP.

Couchdummy writes:

in response to gohawks1:

That's eaisy for you to say. :-)

Funny IP!!

belayvol writes:

in response to uf2006bcs1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Don't worry. I raised three kids so i am used to poop and snot. i will be here to wipe you every time you dribble. Now eat your prunes.

panties4tebow writes:

in response to gatorz7:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

BEAVIS, you are WRONG again as you are 100% of the time. No VOL FAN would miss your comments or buttheads (dc) comments at all! And you girls do not post facts at all.....only garbage and lies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

UTWINSALOT with Kiffin & Company...the greatest coaching staff ever, EVER!!!!

GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

panties4tebow writes:

I think the best thing all VOL FANS could do in order to get the KNS's attention would be to boycott this site until they (KNS) give us the ignore button so that the trolls comments could not be read.

It is true we don't need a button to turn off comments because that is already an option...just don't read the comments.

The KNS can do much better and should care about the fans who actually want to use this site instead of using it to harass everyone. The ignore button would increase this sites visits greatly!

Contact the KNS and get their attention today!

ctownvol writes:

There is already a way to turn off all comments. It's been that way for as long as I can remember. What would be nice is to be able to have an ignore option for certain posters. Ideally that would also omit all responses made directly to any of their posts. That way there isn't 400 posts by one moronic gator fan and 300 direct replies. I'm just as guilty of trading back and forth with these imbeciles, but if they're not there....Happy Days are here again!

panties4tebow writes:

in response to ctownvol:

There is already a way to turn off all comments. It's been that way for as long as I can remember. What would be nice is to be able to have an ignore option for certain posters. Ideally that would also omit all responses made directly to any of their posts. That way there isn't 400 posts by one moronic gator fan and 300 direct replies. I'm just as guilty of trading back and forth with these imbeciles, but if they're not there....Happy Days are here again!

Well said, I agree with you 100%!

Contact the news sentinel today and voice your concern - I just emailed my concern regarding the GO VOLS EXTRA website today!

DarthVol writes:

The problem with an open/free site like this is that anything that might be said by someone with an IQ just north of spongebob will get buried by all the waste-of-time-back-and-forth-bs between gators and those who choose to constantly respond to them. And that includes 99 and his govolsxtra fan club.

People want to comment. People want to read others comments if they're worth reading. But the problem is volume, not quality. To much of one and not enough of the other.

But hey, you get what you pay for right?

Colliervol writes:

The only thing that would help this site is to go back to being Pay Per View. The outsiders and wastes of space like Naffy and Voice of Reason have made this thing worse than a root canal. Just not worth reading the commments anymore as the dim bulbs far outweigh the contributors. The Ignore button is looking pretty good to me.

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