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Regional daily unveils new website after comments row

A regional daily has unveiled its new-look website after controversy over the introduction of a new comments system which requires users to log in to Facebook accounts.

HTFP reported last week that the Manchester Evening News was facing a backlash from readers after revealing its new website would only allow those registered on Facebook to post comments.

The website has now been launched by the title, which aims to bring an “exciting, fresh look to the site”, along with a range of new features.

Fellow Trinity Mirror title the Birmingham Mail has already launched its new site, which also limits comments to Facebook users, and other titles across the group are set to follow suit.

In an article ahead of the relaunch of the site, the MEN said: The new layout is easier to navigate with a simplified structure showing off the full depth and variety of our content in a clutter-free way that makes the most of our pictures. We know you love many of the images we use – and you’ll love them even more in our new picture galleries.

“The latest content from Manchester United and Manchester City becomes easier to find, and you’ll be able to join in with our live match coverage with instant stats and analysis at your finger tips.

“We’re also planning to launch the most detailed listings guide around as CityLife becomes part of the main Manchester Evening News website again.

“We’ll carry more news from your area too, with dedicated pages for every single community in Greater Manchester – packed with lots of informational content too.”

The title has produced a guide for readers on the new comments system which details how they can change their privacy settings so none of their activity on the MEN’s website is shared on Facebook.

It also says the MEN can only see basic information about commenters, such as their username, full name, gender and location, along with other information they have chosen to make public.

The MEN is also launching a new newsletter service so that readers can pick and choose headlines to have emailed to them.

Further new features include greater emphasis on new and recently-updated articles, Hot Topics links at the top of each page and full-screen picture galleries, which are mobile and tablet-friendly.

The paper added: “We think you’ll like the new site and we’re looking forward to continuing to bring you the MEN’s blend of trusted, quality journalism in this new way.”


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  • January 24, 2013 at 9:55 am

    I think this is a really good idea. I am currently running a website, Facebook account and Twitter feeds – with nearly all the reader comments on Facebook, which is most definitely not where we want them. The sign-up process for the website puts people off. Consequently, we are losing potential ‘hits’ and, thus, revenue on the website.

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  • January 24, 2013 at 11:30 am

    I agree it is a good idea, the only issues are that some places have blocks on FB at work so you will lose people who would comment while at work, and also the loss of anonymity.

    Many comments on sites are from people who don’t want to use their real name. Could put some people off.

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  • January 24, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    I can see the attraction, but if you don’t have your own registration system don’t you lose out on your own marketing possibilities with newsletters etc?

    Seems to me then you just hand that money over to Facebook, seems like a lost opportunity.

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