In the wake of 11 September, a growing number of online editors are calling for changes to their sites so that they can better respond to any such future attacks or other events that lead to large traffic surges.

Rusty Coats of the American Press Institute is advising web editors to plan ahead and make strategic changes now.

He recommends that editors:

• create low-graphic versions of front page and main news sections; upgrade bandwidth;
• ensure other editorial staff have the online skills to stand in for web staff;
• improve local news sources;
• review how the whole company uses newswires; improve interactivity options for users - such as online forums;
• improve the site's access to video footage.

He has also listed some examples of sites that handled the story and its associated influx of site traffic well: the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; The Dallas Morning News; USA Today; The New York Post and The New York Daily News.

Last month Steve Outing, recently appointed editor at, also advised web site editors to create a 'clarifications page' - as "much of the news broadcast will subsequently turn out to be incorrect" - and online help resources, where readers can go for support, advice or related information.

Mr Coats emphasised the importance of finding out what readers want: "Use this time to review your site server logs and other traffic measures to determine what readers truly valued and what they overlooked."

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).