The Chicago Sun-Times will launch a completely redesigned website early next year on a platform powered by digital publisher Vox Media, the news organizations announced Thursday.
Sun-Times management says it will fix once and for all the series of clunky website overhauls in recent years that have caused headaches for readers, reporters and editors alike.
“It’s going to be cleaner, it’s going to be less clutter, it’s going to be less popups,” Sun-Times CEO Edwin Eisendrath said. “It’s going to be easier to get to the stories that people care about.”
Vox Media began licensing the company’s content-management system last year with the sports and pop-culture website The Ringer and earlier this year with the comedy site Funny or Die, but the Sun-Times will be the company’s first traditional daily news media partner.
“We are excited about taking a modern platform like Chorus and thinking about how it can propel the outstanding journalism of the Sun-Times moving forward,” Vox Media chief operating officer Trei Brundrett said. “What the Sun-Times audience can expect is the news source that they know and love, and the knowledge that it’s going to work well wherever they’re at.”
Under the deal, the Sun-Times also will join Vox Media’s digital advertising marketplace, called Concert. Sun-Times officials declined to disclose terms, but acknowledged the move could affect Sun-Times advertising and web-development staffing.
Since leading the coalition of labor groups that purchased the Sun-Times last summer, Eisendrath said a priority has been finding a smoother online platform without “enormous switching costs like the last one did.”
Thousands of un-archived articles disappeared from the web when the Sun-Times switched to a new content-management system under previous ownership. Brundrett said Vox Media’s developers are working to restore many of those stories.
“This is us leapfrogging everyone else in local news,” Eisendrath said. “This is going to give us a huge leg up in terms of the tools that the journalists get and the user experience that our readers get.”
The new website will go live in early 2019.