Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Redesigns, relocations and returns

Longtime readers of this blog know I haven't always been kind to Variety. In posts such as this one, I've said the Web site of the showbiz bible was a "a mess of cluttered design and poor taxonomy" that "crashes more than any other B2B site I visit."
But the truth is that in recent months the sites of Variety and sister publications Multichannel News and Broadcasting & Cable have gotten better and better. More material has been moved in front of the firewall. Links are more frequent. There are RSS feeds, podcasts, more Web-exclusive items and an overall general sense that the entertainment magazines of Reed Business are truly learning to love online journalism.
This shouldn't be a complete surprise. As I told the French, Variety has used blogs more effectively and more appropriately than much of the rest of the B2B world. And if you've ever heard me speak about online journalism, you know that I often use the Variety site as an example of compelling multimedia work.
But I always hesitated to truly embrace Variety because the site itself was ... well ... just plug ugly.
But everything old is new again. Variety has debuted a new look. And I for one am thrilled. Take a look. See if you agree that the 100-year old magazine has become a symbol of best practices in online publishing. (Disclosure: Reed is a client, and I played a very small role in the changes at Variety.com.)

When I talk about best practices in online journalism, one of the places I point to is the Web site of Reinventing College Media. I've loved that site since it debuted a year ago. I find there's something compelling about watching the people who teach journalism as they learn new forms of journalism. But RCM appears to be gone. And the folks who founded it have changed names and URLs. Take a look at the new site, and make the appropriate changes to your bookmarks and news readers. (Disclosure: RCM is a service of College Media Advisers. I serve on a CMA professional advisory board.)

And as long as I'm talking about changes at B2B Web sites, let me take a second to say "welcome back" to David Shaw. David's business is thriving. And that has made it difficult for him to find the time to post to his blog. But he's back. And I'm thrilled.

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