Preserving the print metaphor

I’ve always liked SignOnSanDiego’s “Today’s Paper” page. It’s been part of the site as far back as I can remember.

While SOSD maintains its own brand, the TP page is banded with the print publication and maintains the print metaphor for sections and daily publication.”

Newspaper Web sites should not think of themselves as newspaper Web sites. They should forget the print product even exists, and concentrate on constant and continuous, Web-first, written-for-the-Web stories. But, and this is an important but, many users still think of a newspaper site as a newspaper — they want the metaphor, section by section, day-by-day. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had readers call me and ask, “How do I find last Sunday’s paper on the Web site?” Or even more specifically, “How do I find last Thursday’s sports section online?” Many readers simply expect the online site to mirror the print publication.

But mirroring the print edition is no way to grow readership, to reach readers (such as young readers) who want the Web to work like the Web. That is a big and growing part of the audience.

So SOSD found a way to strike the perfect balance. The home page is Web centric. The TP page is print centric. Both audiences are served.

When the NYT rolled out its new design in April, they also included a “Today’s Paper” tab.

The new SavannahNow site also includes a print-centric section.

I like both NYT and Savannah for its use of front page images on the print page, but I think SOSD makes it easier than both at finding page-issue archives. All three have the feature, but for NYT, you must scroll to the bottom of the page.

If you know of any other sites with this feature, please post the link in the comments

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