Young man in a subway reading the newspaper on his phone.

Dallas Morning News

Leading the news to a digital future

In 2014, The Dallas Morning News needed help designing a new experience for its mobile audience. We took the job, and then we spent years helping them reinvent their entire business.

We had a lot to learn about the newspaper business, and along with the Dallas Morning News, our mission became their mission: to be guardians of democracy.

An entertainment site that broke the mold

Our first task was in the News’ entertainment counterpart, GuideLive. They knew their digital future was important, but were governed by deadlines entirely around print. So we posed the question: What if better digital journalism made the print product better, too?

The impact we had

  • A new visual system, appealing to GuideLive’s entertainment-focused audience and introducing exciting interactive moments.
  • A digital content strategy framing them as a local source for buzz-worthy headlines, but still with the integrity of true news.
  • A madlibs style menu and upgraded event system, allowing GuideLive to be a hub for what is hot in the area.

A whole new focus

With the successful relaunch of GuideLive fresh in their minds, The News had the confidence to follow suit with its other properties – each with shifted strategies to match its unique audiences.

Throughout the entire project, Lifeblue built an entirely new custom CMS, called Serif, especially for the Dallas Morning News, doing away with a tangle of strung-together technology solutions that plagued their everyday lives. Doing so flipped their previous print-focused model of on its head.

The impact we had

  • A new look and feel for SportsDay and dallasnews.com, differentiating them as targeted brand, while still living within a greater brand family.
  • A mobile-focused experience that didn’t skimp on desktop readers.
  • A myriad of homepage configurations to be able to easily pivot and provide breaking news.
  • A framework for real-time high school score and stat updates, previously unheard of  for a local source.
  • A way to easily add local teams to your favorites, bringing content to the readers that matters most.

And then, tragedy struck

As we moved into beta launch, five police officers were shot to death in downtown Dallas on July 7, 2016.

The news drove so much traffic to the previous site that it crashed. The only option was to push the days-old beta site into the live limelight.

The world looked to dallasnews.com for its coverage of the biggest story of the year. We’re proud to say we played a part in helping them reach a broader audience and engage deeply with their readers in the moments it mattered most.

The decision was a watershed moment for The News, showing it had transformed into an audience-driven, digital news organization that had learned to embrace iteration and rapid change.

It’s the kind of work that helps protect a democracy.

Results

  • 300% average cost of ads increased three times
  • 68% increase in page views

Awards

Dallas Morning News

Best Mobile Platform

Associated Press Media Editors national award

SportsDay

Top 10 Website

Associated Press Sports Editors

SportsDay

Best Mobile Platform

Associated Press Media Editors national award

GuideLive

Best New Corporate Innovation Initiative

International News Media Association

We create experiences, so experience it for yourself.

Visit DallasNews.com