The Philadelphia Daily News and the Philadelphia Inquirer launched separate, subscription-based websites yesterday. That means that Philly.com will no longer be the only online home for the city’s two daily papers, though it will still feature both papers’ content.
Visit Inquirer.com here. Use the code ‘U69T‘ for access until Friday.
Both sites’ designs are refreshing, to say the least. Rag on Philly.com all you want, but Inquirer.com and PhillyDailyNews.com are much easier to navigate, more image-centric and use more modern typography. (The sites aren’t responsive, as has become common for mobile strategy of the day, pushing toward their native apps it seems.)
The design work for the Daily News was done by Josh Cohen, head of user experience for Philly.com, while the design work for the Inquirer was done by Frank Wiese, senior editor of multimedia projects at the Inquirer.
The change was sparked by a consumer study that the company’s new owners, Interstate General Media (IGM), conducted after purchasing the papers and Philly.com, said Daily News digital media editor Josh Cornfield. The survey found that readers couldn’t distinguish between the three different brands (the Daily News, the Inquirer and Philly.com) on Philly.com. The new sites aim to change that.
Philly.com will still feature content from both papers, Cornfield said. Its staff will choose which stories to feature and it’ll also have its own original content.
As for the newspapers’ sites, both will feature exclusive content, like the Inquirer’s crime app and the ability to suggest Daily News stories and vote on what reporters should cover. The Daily News site also places a heavy focus on reader interaction, Cornfield said, encouraging reporters and readers to discuss stories in the comments (which should no longer be full of trolls since only subscribers can comment).
You’ll only be able to access the sites if you have a subscription or if you buy a paper. Each paper offers a “promotional pass,” which allows you to access the corresponding newspaper’s site for the day. The Inquirer will not make these passes available every day, said the Inquirer’ deputy managing editor Sandy Clark.
Cornfield said he hopes the site launch will broaden the Daily News’ readership and reach a younger, more digitally-engaged audience that wasn’t getting the experience they wanted from Philly.com. Though, that will, of course, depend on if that younger audience is willing to pay for content.
Does differentiating the three brands make it easier for IGM to sell them? Those behind the papers have stressed that this is a business venture, after all, but Cornfield said that this move has nothing do with that. It’s about helping each brand succeed by giving each of them their own voice, he said.
“It’s really about making the three brands as good as they can be,” he said.
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