Examining the Washington Examiner‘s New Website: the Good, Bad and Ugly

The Washington Examiner last week published the last of their familiar daily newspaper to switch to a new format and rebrand the organization. This week, the new website and weekly magazine arrived, both covering national politics and policy.

So here in the Fishbowl we decided to examine the new site and outline the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good…  Overall, the new site is much cleaner and not as overwhelming as the old one. Instead of bombarding the reader with headlines on the homepage, the site makes use of a prominently placed slider that displays one story, with a photo, at a time. Beside that is a space displaying a featured video as well as top news from Congress and the White House. Below that is a somewhat complex array of subsections, columnists, affiliate links and writers that offer a taste of what the new Examiner is all about. Headlines are more prominent, and gone are the bold tags that ran together with them on the old site. Though organization on the homepage is somewhat lacking, the subsection pages are laid out much better. Overall, the entire site is more easily-navigated, more modern. In short: a definite improvement.

The bad…  The first, and most obvious, of the bad is the fact that all of the award-winning local news is nowhere to be found. A search through the archives does return results from local news archives of the past, though as more of the new content is added, more specific searches will be required to find these stories. Also, it seems as if the Examiner wants to throw everything at the reader on the homepage. Not that the homepage of a news site shouldn’t have a wealth of information, but the Examiner’s new site is somewhat lacking in the organization of its content. With no border, the content sometimes appears to be floating in the vast white space surrounding it.

The ugly…   It doesn’t take long to notice the putrid new color the Examiner threw all over the site. It can be described best as a burnt rust, which should be found on a bicycle left out in the rain too often, not a Washington-based political news site. For some reason, the Examiner decided to ditch the much more appropriate blue and red color scheme for this new color, which not only appears in the navigation bar, but also in subheads, links and the footer (and its probably used other places we’ve had the fortune of overlooking thus far).