'ABA Journal' revamps site

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At first glance, the newly redesigned, the Web site of the American Bar Association's flagship monthly magazine, seems somewhat text heavy and almost dull compared with the newest versions of many media Web sites. But as soon as users start exploring and reading, they will discover one of the best examples of Web 2.0 thinking in the business/professional media today.

Edward Adams, editor and publisher of ABA Journal and, started working for the association a year ago this month and quickly became involved in rethinking and redesigning the site, which relaunched July 23. Adams has a law degree, as well as extensive journalistic experience, including a 12-year stint as a reporter and editor for The New York Law Journal, published by ALM.

Adams' aim was not to use widgets (lightweight software applications that power Most Popular lists, for example), interactive features such as the ability to share or comment on stories, or any other social media/Web 2.0 features just to be cutting-edge. His intention was to create one site that would pull in, rather than push out, information from around the Web and organize it for busy lawyers.

The new version of is branded Law News Now, a concept that's executed as literally as possible. Two staff editors, based in Chicago, select and post stories from newswires and other legal sites from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT.

Editors choose a top story, which includes a headline and a few paragraphs of text, and four headlines. Below that, headlines of the Latest Stories are listed in reverse chronological order with time stamps, such as "5 minutes ago" or "2 hours ago." Adams said 25 to 50 short news stories are posted each day.

As readers click on the headlines, widgets surface the 10 most-read stories of the day, the past seven days and the past 30 days.

Beyond the news stories categorized by timeliness, editorial judgment and reader response, Adams wanted to include news analysis. Rather than assigning editors, columnists or industry experts to that task, he decided to tap into the blogosphere, where some of the best minds in the legal field were already expressing themselves in so-called "blawgs."

"I wanted to bring into the site the vast number of lawyers who are also `blawgers,"' Adams said. "We have categorized the blawgs into a directory of more than 1,000."

The most popular blawgs, based on click-throughs, are organized for the day, the past seven days, the past 30 days and all time.

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