Channel 4 News Unveils New Website At The Heart Of An Online Community

Channel 4 News is set to relaunch its website, placing it at the heart of an online community. The new site has been designed to accommodate commentary from users, and incorporate more live-blogging and real-time analysis. Building on the success of live-blogging events such as Channel 4’s ‘Ask the Chancellors’ and the three Leaders’ debates earlier this year, the 7pm bulletin will now be live-blogged every single evening.

Capitalising on the team’s widespread Twitter following, the new site’s homepage will pull in feeds from Jon Snow, Krishnan Guru Murthy and specialist editors including Lindsey Hilsum, Faisal Islam and Gary Gibbon – as well as commentators from outside the Channel 4 Newsroom. They say this will help create the immediacy that people want from a news site, without losing any of the personality that defines Channel 4 News journalism.

As well as an increased focus on instant reaction, the site will also move to reflect the indepth analysis that has become synonymous with the flagship 7pm bulletin. The site will launch with Special Reports – banks of indepth reporting and analysis from across the Channel 4 News team. Brighton-based web design agency Clearleft have been working with Channel 4 News for the last 8 months to ensure the site exudes the core values of the programme. The site has also undergone significant technical improvements and will now incorporate BrightCove, for video playback on iPad, iPhone and Android 2.2. And there will be a far greater focus on information graphics- the first of which mapped for the first time, the scale and detail of sexual abuse convictions within the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

The site will launch with a new blog from Presenter Krishnan Guru Murthy. GuruBlog will cover the news issues of the day, whilst also discussing music, technology and other areas. To mark the launch of the site, Channel 4 News has also announced a competition to find the UK’s Best Young Blogger. Jon Snow will chair a judging panel featuring broadcaster Richard Bacon, political commentator Iain Dale and young blogger and Guardian journalist Josh Halliday, and the winner will see their work sit on the Channel 4 News website alongside the news team’s most famous bloggers.

Vicky Taylor, Commissioning Editor, new media, news and current affairs, at Channel 4 says: ‘We know that our viewers strongly identify with some of the core values of our programme – they see Channel 4 News as challenging, distinctive and, at times, a little bit mischievous. What we wanted to do was ensure that these defining characteristics also shape our online output. The new site celebrates our wealth of indepth coverage in specialist areas ranging from Iran to G20 – and offers the same real-time commentary that people are currently accessing through our social media activity.’

Ed Fraser, Senior Editor, Channel 4 News Online, adds ‘We want to create a real time conversation and buzz around the Channel 4 News programme. We saw quite clearly that people enjoyed the community feel of commenting on and discussing news events as they unfolded during the General Election – and that, for these, people live-blogging was enhancing the viewing experience. It was so successful that now we will be providing the forum for live discussion every night.’

Some of the sites most popular tools and formats remain. Political Correspondent Cathy Newman’s FactCheck blog has built a reputation for debunking the claims of those in public office. Before this year’s General Election, the blog forced Gordon Brown into a House of Commons U-turn after it revealed the truth behind his claims that defence spending has increased ever year under Labour. FactCheck has also been awarded by the Royal Statistical Society, and cited as recommended reading by the Houses of Parliament library. Elsewhere on the site, WhoKnowsWho will continue to map the links between those in the public eye and Jon Snow’s early evening ‘Snowmail’ will continue to trail that night’s programme.

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