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Sun-Times readers react to new look: ‘refreshing,’ but where’s the U.S. flag?

The new and the old. Readers have told us they miss the American and Chicago flags on the front page. | Sun-Times Staff

The Chicago Sun-Times unveiled a cleaner, more straightforward look on Wednesday — both online and in print — and many readers, judging by their early feedback, like the changes.

Both the website and newspaper have a cleaner user experience, larger photos and streamlined navigation. | Sun-Times Staff
Both the website and newspaper have a cleaner user experience, larger photos and streamlined navigation. | Sun-Times Staff

“Born and raised in Chicago and thanks to the Sun-Times, I still feel connected. I love the new look and continued authentic journalism,” reader Scott Levin wrote in an online note.

And this: “Such a refreshing overhaul. I participated in a big site re-launch. So I know how much work goes into this stuff. Congrats S-T crew!” wrote Daniel Kay Hertz, responding on Twitter.

One reader was upset that the newspaper has eliminated the American flag from the front page; some also were irked at the deletion of the “weather word” — the adjective on the cover that had been used to describe the day’s forecast. And another was upset that the index, listing where various items (editorials, obituaries, comics, etc.) could be found in the paper, was missing from Page 2.

You also miss the index. | Sun-Times Staff
You also miss the index. | Sun-Times Staff

Some readers weren’t thrilled at the comments we made about our competition in a letter to readers about the changes. The letter took a poke at the Chicago Tribune, and some readers thought that was unfair — given that the paper has recently endured a round of layoffs.

“This is a perfectly fine piece on changes that will impact the newspaper as a whole — except [that] you open and end the piece with low-blow digs at your competition,” wrote mrliparoata on Twitter.

Some of these complainants called out the Chicago Sun-Times’ own history with layoffs.

“Yeah, let’s throw the Tribune under the bus for laying off three reporters because we totally forgot about that time we laid off (sic) our ENTIRE 28-person photo staff,” Gareth Sleger tweeted.

One person had this backhanded compliment to offer: “WAIT. The Sun-Times site is readable now?”

Others said they liked the website’s move away from an ad-heavy design, with one saying it had felt like a chore to go on the website. Subscriber Ronald Lucarelli said in an email that he used to be frustrated with how “clunky” the site was, but called the new design “superb.” But a Facebook commenter took issue with the amount of ads in the print version, and their size.

Another reader was especially fond of the website’s new look and called out our competition.

“Visiting the redesigned @Suntimes website is like taking a deep breath of fresh air. Time to shape up, @chicagotribune!” kboreilly wrote on Twitter.