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 Poynter.org, 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."
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