To be fair, if I had not been assigned the Star Tribune website for my beat in my journalism class, I would likely never look at it unless there was a major event happening in the Twin Cities area. That being said, I have liked what I have seen so far from the Tribune's website. 
Structurally, the website is very well put together. There is a lot of graphic content which makes the site easy to look at, and the headlines are all large or bolded. The trending stories across the top (where it says "NEWS NOW") is something that a lot of sites are using. The headlines are relatively large, making them easy to read. 

Further down (below where the screenshot ends) there are more links to different multimedia. There is a box for latest videos, and each section has a box with links to its top stories, and there are links to the paper's top columnists and bloggers. Everything has is ordained with a picture making the entire thing easy to deal with as a reader. 

This is really something I love about the site. I absolutely hate it when a website crushes you with text on its homepage. The New York Times does this on their website. All of their front page articles have the first few sentences underneath the headlines and its set up in columns so that the whole thing appears as if they are trying to make it look like the newspaper on line. On top of that all the links to different sections are in small type along the side, rather than in bold and color across the top. The Times site has a bit of an overwhelming feel to it and that is not how it should be. The Star Tribune does a very good job of making site navigation easy. 

The other important part of a news website is obviously content. The folks at the Star Tribune do a very good job in this department. The reporting, as far as I can tell, is thorough and the writing is clear. The focus in the news section is more local than what you would get with a major news website, which is absolutely perfect for the market that the Tribune is appealing to. The readers aren't going to the Tribune to see how the President is handling the opposition over the latest bill, they are looking for news on how the local school board's recent ruling will affect their children. 

The sports section is very large,which is what you expect from a newspaper in a major metropolitan area with competitive teams. 

All in all my first impressions have been very good. I expect to see good things coming out of Minneapolis this semester. 

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    I'm a native Virginian who traveled to Milwaukee to study Journalism in the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University. 


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