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Online media matters

Main Page Rants

Pumping up the praise

Taking the time to point out some advances at globeandmail.com

In Canada, a lot of the time the results of online journalism and Web development goes unnoticed. Other locales (e.g., the Unites States), online journalism is heralded by a diverse group of industry voices and Web development is cheered-on by a peer-to-peer-like network of blogs and conferences. So it’s nice when our work here in Canada is acknowledged, and I’m going to waste some bits highlighting some of those mentions about the globeandmail.com.

Real news online

On Saturday, The Globe and Mail’s editor lauded the newspaper for finally treating the Web site as a news outlet (as opposed to an electronic archive of the paper) and publishing a scoop the site. As Bill Doskoch points out, this had been going on for long while south of the border (it was big news back in the U.S. 1997), but the editorial team on the newspaper side is getting used to filing early versions of their stories online.

In fact the whole company’s starting to get it. When a strike against The Globe’s corporate sibling delayed delivery of the newspaper in Ontario, the Web site’s paywall was lifted to let print subscribers get their dose of Blatchford (but not to break the strike as Boing Boing suggested).


On a more personal level, subscriptions to the RSS feeds are picking up now that some of the blogging community has noticed. Though they’re not yet as narrowly focused as I’d like, it is extremely good to see them on the site after a few of us spent more than a year of lobbying for them.


Another big effort has been to beat the horribly invalid pages into submission. Thanks to our phenomenally successful full story page redesign, we’re getting close. With the exception of the global header, some ad code, and a few stray ampersands, the underlying HTML validates, as should most of the CSS. (It’s also accessible, uses sIFR, and tries to follow the best practices around Web standards). If and when a whole scale overhaul of the entire site happens, you can bet a lot more pages will behave.

Traveling with AJAX

Finally, although not rock solid, the newly redesigned travel section features the site’s (and my) first use of Ajax (the personalizable weather does arm-twisting with our servers to pull out the information dynamically). Keep an eye out on this section over the next few months — it may just be ground zero for a whole new “blog”andmail.com.