DOCUMENT: Internet

The Smoking Gun's New Digs

Site redesign unveiled; next overhaul set for 2023


Dear Friends:

The Smoking Gun, as you probably noticed, has undergone a significant redesign, the first major overhaul in the site’s 13+ year history (it’s a little hard for us to believe, too). What follows is a brief rundown--without use of the words “sticky” or “functionality"--on the site’s overhaul.

Generally, the revamped TSG, which remains devoted to the publication of primary source documents, is simpler to navigate, allows for sharing of stories, clues readers in to related content, and gives visitors a clear sense of the depth of the site’s offerings (from investigative pieces to that story about the guy who got glued to a toilet seat in a Walmart bathroom).

The new front page allows us to highlight lead and off-lead stories, new blog posts, and our mug shot and backstage rider sections. Additionally, documents will now be in a lightbox that opens atop a story, so you don’t have to navigate away from the words we spent nine minutes crafting.

Please keep in mind that we’re still trying to fix bugs, so cut us a little slack if you run into a dead link or something similarly bothersome. But please don’t hesitate to let us know what isn’t working. Drop a line here, or just click the new Submit A Tip box.

Keep an eye out for these features:

* BUSTER. That’s the name of our first blog, which will cover news and pop culture topics. Rooted in the same solid reporting for which TSG is known, the blog will allow us to cover a wide range of subjects quickly (without the requirement of publishing an accompanying document). However, you won't find any "Gossip Girl" or "The Bachelor" roundups here. As for the name, well, we liked how it sounded (plus the better ones were already taken).

* TIME WASTER. This collection of dozens of mix and match games builds upon our popular “Friday Photo Fun” prize contest. For instance, a reader will be shown five mug shots and have to match the individual perps with their respective crime, occupation, blood alcohol content, tattoos, weapon they brandished, etc. We’ll also offer games using material from our extensive backstage rider collection. For instance, you’ll see photos of five artists and have to line them up with their respective quirky/bizarre backstage demands. These are rudimentary games, for sure, but still pretty amusing.

* MUG SHOTS. Along with better categorization and navigation within our existing celebrity mug shot collection, we’ve added a large section devoted to “civilian” booking photos. This section will be updated daily (perhaps hourly) and is divided into 24 categories, like “Cleavage,” “Ouch,” “Weepy,” and “Unusual Suspects.” Oh, and suspects busted wearing “Scarface” attire will be found in the category “Pacino.”

* COMMENTS. Yes, TSG is officially the last site to offer visitors a chance to weigh in on published stories. We’re told this will build “community.” But we’re guessing our day will now be spent deleting racial slurs and vile comments. Readers will have to register to comment, which will also allow them to play contests for which we award prizes.

* BACKSTAGE. In addition to adding new acts, our concert rider section greatly benefits from the site’s reorganization. As a result of tagging and better categorization, readers will now have an easier time determining, for example, the only two performers who have required “bendy straws” on their riders (Mariah Carey and Sarah Palin). Or that Marilyn Manson washes down a tub of Haribo gummi bears with two bottles of absinthe.

That pretty much covers things.



Your pals at TSG

Comments (29)

I'm not too crazy about the new design, but I can get used to it. One element I REALLY miss is a simple list of the Archives. I check in every couple of weeks or so to see what's new. Using the old list-style archive, it was very simple to find out where I'd left off. Is there something like that on the new site, and I just can't seem to find it??
The biggest crime on TSG now is this new design. You took something simple and easy to use and ran it through an Ubercrapulator® in an attempt induce seizures. I guess I can live without pics of criminals with wacky haircuts and ironic t-shirt graphics, because you clowns don't deserve the traffic.
I'm digging the fact that we can leave comments.
I was surprised to see how you guys view yourselves, based on this new look. The old version was, to me, a really cool combination of cutting edge wit mixed with old-fashioned journalistic digging and reporting. The new version is more cutesy-funny and tabloid. I never pictured you that way. You're still the source for interesting stuff, but it won't be as much fun to read it as it used to be. Were a lot of us asking you to change? I'll miss the old site.
Don't know where else to report something, so I'll do it here. Just checked out the "time waster" section and dragging the pictures doesn't work in either Firefox or Safari on a MAC. They drag but they don't stick. Is it broken or is it me?
I posted this elsewhere, and then saw this post. I like the new site overall; but all that red is REALLY hard on the eyes after awhile. Ye gods, guys! Right now I'm using a Firefox Extension called Stylish to change it. See how much easier on the eyes it is with a darker background?
Oh! How I hate changed. Makes me think! lol
I was actually bummed to see this redesign. Not that it isn't fancy, shiny and new - but because I really liked that this site looked the way it did: The courier font, retro ugly colors and so on. I guess you could call it Web 1.0 nostalgia. Oh well, at least the Drudge Report can carry this torch. ;)
What happened to Mug Shots Of The Week! This is a TERRIBLE CHANGE of design!
Don't like it at all. Whers this weeks new mugs?
Where are the archives now?
I really like it, Spent more time here today checking out the new digs, and from what I see it will take me a bit more. I'm on Firefox, no complaints. Sometimes change is a good thing,
Me likey. Much better presentation and surfability. I just made that word up. The old site was, well, not so smokin'. Thanks for the improvements. And the humor.
Format changes inevitably draw complaints, but this really is a downgrade. It's far too busy and the color scheme is unpleasant; there's too much crammed onto the page. While the old site might've benefited from improvements, this design made it worse.
I'm not much for change.....Unless it's a "Diaper" or what you find after you wash or dry at the laundromat. But I do miss the captions over the "Perp's" mugshot though. And also the picking of the password at sign in was a little tricky. Good luck on the new web sight (your gonna need it).
Unfortunately, the new Smoking Gun does NOT redner well in Firefox -- it's a bloody mess! Please don't make it browser specific! Exmaple here:
Much better.. and more thought put into it... Congrats! ..
Great changes! Much easier to navigate site and love the "look"
Love the new layout! Not moving slow for me, just a few bugs with login. Great job TSG, I'm super-excited about the new layout ;)
Looks good. I don't see any problem with speed.
Love the new design! More content in one place, and love being able to share info with other sites. Good Job! Btw, it's doesn't run slow for me.
Looks a lot better and now I'll actually be a regular reader. The old look was enough to keep me away.
The new look is fine with me - but its way slow, and the lightbox for the documents doesnt display anything most of the time. That should be a setting we can turn off. I didnt mind flipping through pages of documents. The lightbox is brokeded!
Agree 100% with RedFlannel. You are now the slowest site. Even slower than loading a full page of gif's on the Chive. Hope you can fix the bugs or go back to the working model. Ain't broke, don't fix it.
Very nice. Looking forward to the new site.
I must be too old a dog. I've always come here for the content. Still love that, but hate the look. Too junked-up and confusing to me. I liked the old plain one much better. And it's SO slow, to boot. I need to waste time MUCH faster than this, so count me out for now. I'll check back in a few weeks and hopefully you'll have trimmed out lots of the fat and be back up to speed.
Much better! Easier to read, easier to navigate around, just seems to be moving a little slow....
Much better! Easier to read, easier to navigate around, just seems to be moving a little slow....
I like the smoking gun new dig better.