Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Putting the House in Order: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Website Gets a Needed Makeover

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Putting the House in Order: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Website Gets a Needed Makeover

Article excerpt

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently moved from a three-bedroom house to a 10-bedroom house. No, newspaper staffing levels haven't fallen so drastically that journalists are now forced to live and work together in quiet suburban neighborhoods--yet.

The housing analogy actually belongs to Mark Medici, vice president of audience for Cox Media Group. That's how he describes the rollout of his company's new "reimagined" websites for its four major newspapers, which also include the Austin American-Statesman, the Palm Beach Post, and the Dayton Daily News.

The Constitution-Journal was the first site that underwent the revamp, and it's a thing of newspaper website beauty--heavy with photos, less text clutter, smartphone-friendly, easily navigable, a real-time traffic map, and a new emphasis on hyperlocal terrain with a special Neighborhoods tab. Check out ajc.com and see for yourself.

"We've had tremendous feedback, and part of the response has been, Wow, this is so different," said Medici. "There's significantly more content now. We went from a very text-driven to a very visual site. That can be hard for some to digest, but we really needed to do it."

A major reason for all the new Cox sites is one familiar to every publisher of traditional print media: Capturing younger audiences.

"The average age on ajc.com is over 40 years old, so we need to make sure we're engaging our audience earlier in their lives," said Medici. "The average age of Facebook and Twitter visitors who come to us is 32. We needed to figure out how to get them to stay awhile when they come to us."

Part of that plan is the simultaneous launch of in-site verticals dedicated to topics like Southeastern Conference college sports, which Medici said have already proven popular. …

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