tyne bridge
Credit: By yellow book on Flickr. Some Rights Reserved.

Newcastle's Evening Chronicle has yesterday relaunched its website, ChronicleLive, as part of Trinity Mirror's ongoing shift towards more digitally-focused news operations.

The Chronicle's digital editor, Helen Dalby, explained that the key features of the site are a rolling, breaking news blog – set to launch in full next month – and a searchable listings section of events in the region.

"I think it really takes us forward in terms of delivering a quality 'what's on' experience for users looking for things to do in Newcastle," Dalby told Journalism.co.uk.

"But what we also want to do – what we've done before very well but the new website gets to showcase more effectively – is respond to big events with live coverage very quickly," she said.

Another area of the site Dalby was keen to highlight is the 'in your area' section, which acts as a hyperlocal site for regions and communities with geographically tagged content.

"It's not just news," continued Dalby, "but it's also events in that area and informational content, so things like schools, Ofstead reports, council contact, bin day, that sort of thing."

Although this information had previously been available, the new site brings the content to the fore and adds a map with geo-tagged stories in each locality.

In terms of presentation, the site has a similar design to other recently redesigned Trinity Mirror titles, with the Birmingham Mail relaunching in October and Manchester Evening News in January.

David Higgerson, digital publishing director at Trinity Mirror, said that since the Birmingham Mail launched its new site five months ago they have seen a 61 per cent increase in unique monthly visitors in terms of year-on-year growth, with the Manchester Evening News not far behind.

"That's largely because they are now operating the new newsroom model which enables them to just focus on live content all the time," Higgerson told Journalism.co.uk. "So when the bus stabbing took place last week it wasn't a case of 'wait until we've got six paragraphs and throw it up' – it was a case of get the liveblog going, also produce the six paragraphs and be on top of the story all day."

Where most of the Trinity Mirror sites have seen a 20 to 25 per cent growth, continued Higgerson, it was really encouraging to see the newly revamped sites do so well as a result of the changes.

The latest ABCs for Trinity Mirror regionals showed slight falls in traffic overall in the second half of 2012 when compared to the first half of the year, but reported year-on-year increases.

Trinity Mirror is planning to relaunch other sites, Higgerson said. "Wales Online we plan to launch next month, then North Wales Daily Post – where all the trials have taken place on newsroom 3.0 – and then the Liverpool Echo. We've got a couple of the smaller sites which are associated with weekly newspapers coming out around Manchester over the next few weeks as well."

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