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SNPA picks gainesvilletimes.com as top Web site

Times earns second for best front page in annual newspaper contest

POSTED: October 25, 2008 5:00 a.m.
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Image shows The Times' front page from April 6 that earned second-place honors in Best Front Page Design in the Southern Newspaper Publishers Assocations' Better Newspaper Contest. The Times was entered in the under 50,000 circulation category among newspapers throughout the South.

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The Times' Web site, gainesvilletimes.com, has been selected as the top Web site in the South among newspapers its size by the Southern Newspapers Publishers Association's annual Better Newspaper Contest.

The Times also placed second in the SNPA category for Best Front Page. The contest included material published from August 2007 to this past August.

The SNPA chose gainesvilletimes.com as the Best Web Site Design among papers in the under 50,000 circulation category. One judge called the site "easily the best" nominated.

The Times relaunched gainesvilletimes.com in October 2007 as an interactive site with video and other multimedia along with regular news updates 24 hours a day. The site earned honors as Georgia’s best daily Web site in the Georgia Press Association awards in June.

"Our success is really built upon the fact that everyone on staff has a hand in multimedia," said Michael R. Beard, new media editor. "Readers who visit gainesvilletimes.com will always find audio, video and documents that add depth to stories."

Reporters and editors from all newsroom departments have produced hundreds of videos and audio clips since the relaunch last year.

According to the SNPA news release, judges didn't consider how many hits a Web site attracts but looked at the overall Internet experience that a reader visiting the page should expect to have. Awards were based on ease of navigation, search capabilities, attractive design, a promotional avenue for the print product, plus any extras offered by the site.

The judging panel was overseen by Randy Stano, professor of practice in visual journalism in the School of Communication at the University of Miami.

Second-place honors in this category recognized the Web site of the Asheville, N.C., Citizen-Times, www.citizen-times.com. Third place was a tie between two sites of the Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News, www.pigskinreview.com and www.amarillouptown.com.

The Times' front page effort of April 6 placed second among papers under 50,000 for Best Front Page Design. The award recognizes excellence in the makeup and appearance of the page and how the newspaper's staff put together its various elements. Judges looked at overall makeup and appearance, photos and graphics, and headlines that combine to create a compelling page that draws readers.



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