Sky News online relaunch emphasises breaking news

Sky News’ website will relaunch on Thursday with a renewed emphasis on breaking news.

The new-look site’s aesthetic will be brought into line with the March revamp to the rolling news channel’s on-air graphics.

“Three separate home page templates will aid news delivery, with one ensuring a large proportion of the page is devoted to major breaking news stories,” according to a statement, which said a minimalist new design would employ red, yellow, black and grey to denote top, breaking, contextual and regular news stories respectively.

There will be more online video, with live news events available in streaming video for free.

But the relaunch sounds like a gradual increase in Sky News’ web activity, rather than a big bang. Online editorial director Andrew Hawken, who joined from MSN last year, said Sky would “incrementally… create a richer site for breaking news and information that will encourage users to find out more about what is going on in the world”.

And Sky is trumpeting the contributions expected following the switch to online from a number of TV staff.

“In the past few months alone, a number of senior journalists have joined Sky News Online from Sky News,” a statement read. “Phil Wardman, Sky News’ head of home news, has been seconded for nine months to to head up online intake, and executive producer Julian March and news editor John Gripton are also bringing their experience to Sky News Online.

“Simon Bucks has been appointed associated editor to put Sky News Online at the forefront of audience participation, encouraging online users to collaborate further in areas such as voting, commenting charing views and contributing to stories. He will continue to solidify the integration of Sky News’ TV and online news services.

“In his new role, Simon will aim to put Sky News at the forefront of audience participation, encouraging online users to collaborate further.”

BSkyB is currently trialling a user-generated content portal, SkyCast, with the aim of taking videos from viewers of Sky News and other channels for use on air.