The Chron.com v. The LA Times

The Houston Chronicle and the LA Times are about to go head to head.

The Nieman Journalism Lab recently compiled a list of the Top 15  newspaper Web sites according to the number of unique monthly visitors. From the bottom five I chose the Chronicle, because I lived there for so long, and, because the Chronicle is a city paper, I chose the LA Times from the top five to compare it with.

The LA Times’ front page is much cleaner than the Chronicle’s. Chron.com looks very busy, cluttered and even a little intimidating. The Times utlitized more pictures on the front page and spaced out separate items. The Chronicle has a lot of little pictures on their home page, adding to the cluttered look, and bunches a lot of the links for their stories together. The Times was much more pleasing to look at.

Chronicle: 0, Times: 1

I really like that the Chronicle has all their links at the top of the page. If I know what I’m looking for, I can get there without scrolling. The Times put their links to different sections on the side, descending down the page. This isn’t a huge inconvenience (just a minor one), but it does take longer to get around this way. As far as ease of use goes, the Chronicle has a slight edge.

Chronicle: 1, Times: 1

Both the Times and the Chronicle told you in the link, before the jump to a story, whether there were pictures or a video to go along with it. That was nice. In addition, the Chronicle has an entire section on their home page dedicated to videos, photos and readers’ photos – one place where I can get it all. Terribly convenient. The Times had links on the side of the home page, one for video and one for photography. Also, very convenient.

I’m going to have to call this one a tie.

As far as quality of multimedia, both Web sites have good video and photos, but I wasn’t able to find soundslides or anything beyond very basic videos at either site. I think that the Times did, overall, have slightly better photography. So. The Times takes this one.

Chronicle: 1, Times: 2

So, overall, I feel the Times has a better Web site and makes better use of multimedia than the Chronicle. But just a little better.

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