The Times Leader won the 2011 W3 Award.Clark Van Orden/The Times Leader
The Times Leader mobile site.Clark Van Orden/The Times Leader
Up against some tough competition, the mobile version of The Times Leader’s website was a finalist in Editor & Publisher magazine’s 2011 EPPY awards in the category of Best Mobile Website with average monthly traffic between 250,000 and 1 million visitors.
The newspaper finished second to the national CBS News website, but the fact that the two news outlets were pitted head-to-head speaks to the gains the paper has made in online content delivery, as well as the Internet’s ability to level the playing field in reporting the news.
Editor & Publisher’s selection of the company as a finalist marks the second time the paper’s mobile site has been lauded in as many months.
In October, Impressions Media, The Times Leader’s parent firm, won a silver Wł award in the Mobile Media Technology category. Those awards, sanctioned and judged by the International Academy of the Visual Arts, honor creative excellence on the Web from companies around the world, not just news sites.
“I am very proud of what our team has accomplished,” said Prashant Shitut, president and interim CEO of Impressions Media, which includes The Times Leader and other publications. “Winning the Wł award and being a finalist for the EPPY Award is an acknowledgment of the effort we have invested in our media platforms. We deliver important news our readers want on well-designed websites, mobile platforms and in high quality print publications.”
Nick DeLorenzo, director of interactive and new media for Impressions Media, said The Times Leader’s site goes beyond simply presenting news and photos by allowing users to post comments, link stories through social media and submit story ideas, photographs and videos — all points judges in both competitions probably considered.
It was also built with next-generation web technology, making the site easy to read no matter what device on which it is viewed. Readers have responded.
When The Times Leader unveiled the current mobile version of its site a little more than a year ago, the number of users connecting with smartphones and other mobile devices nearly doubled in a month, and today mobile-device traffic is up 247 percent.
During the September flooding, more than 100 pictures were submitted to The Times Leader through the mobile site.
“The way people get information is changing and it has been changing for a long time,” DeLorenzo said. “There’s no reason someone should have to go to a computer to get the latest information when they could just go to their phone. That’s our job as journalists to get the word out. Ed Mitchell, a local freelance Democratic political consultant, said he uses his smartphone “24/7” to stay abreast of breaking news and developing trends. He said The Times Leader’s mobile site and other digital media offerings outshine the competition in their presentation and swift delivery of news.
“It satisfies my needs and stands out among the mobile sites here in Northeast Pennsylvania, not only newspapers but all the media sites,” Mitchell said. “I give The Times Leader high marks for moving into the digital age … I find that The Times Leader is truly a leader in that regard.”