Social media dominates redesigns

The Toronto Star and CBC radio 3 recently launched new websites heavily influenced by social media and customized interactivity.

The new Toronto Star site provides four different views of the news: standard, visual, timeline and grid. While not a completely customizable interface, it offers more than others. But it fails to recognize new forms of digital storytelling that move beyond the traditional images and text or audio only or video only formats. Some sites still juxtapose elements with text next to an image and a piece of audio or video to go with it. Multimedia in daily news reporting continues to elude journalists.

Radio 3 demonstrates the kind of flexible, customizable interface that allows the audience to pick features and use the site to meet their needs. The introduction of new streams dedicated to particular types of music adds diversity and helps grow the audience. Now, if these ideas were transferred to the news division.

On both sites the abundance of sharing, commenting, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and similar social media demonstrate the incredible influence these types of technology are having on news organizations.