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L.A. Times Site Goes Mobile-First

Etihad Airways Sponsors Free Access for a Few Days

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The new L.A. Times website.
The new L.A. Times website.
The old look.
The old look.

The Los Angeles Times is introducing a redesign tonight that moves the 132-year-old newspaper closer to the vanguard of mobile-first web design, with a look more closely resembling digital-only publications like The Verge than the ink-on-paper model it replaces.

Articles in the site's various sections are displayed as tiles and feature "sharelines," which are three very brief summaries that can be easily shared across social media. To try to better keep those readers who arrive from social media, pages can scroll forever with additional content.

The firm Code and Theory helped the L.A. Times design the site, which last got a major redesign in 2009.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, the airline of the United Arab Emirates, is paying to lift the site's paywall for three days once the redesign goes live at midnight Pacific Time. Etihad is paying a "premium price" for the ads that will appear as a result, said L.A. Times spokesman John Conroy, who declined to elaborate.

The redesign couldn't come at a more precarious time for the paper, where potential layoffs hang over a staff already weary from cuts. About 20 people were laid off last summer and more are expected as parent Tribune Company looks to trim costs ahead of a spinoff of its publishing division, which includes the L.A. Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Orlando Sentinel.

Meanwhile, the paper is also facing a challenge on its home turf, with the L.A. Register rolling out last month and positioning itself as L.A. County's hometown newspaper.

The L.A. Times plans to enhance its local coverage with a neighborhoods section that connects news stories, restaurant reviews and information and crime data with their respective neighborhoods. Advertisers can target their ads to readers in specific parts of L.A., the paper said.

L.A. Times mobile and desktop unique visitors reached 27.5 million in March, a 30% increase from the same time last year, according to ComSore.

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