That's according to 24/7 Wall Street's Doug McIntyre , who examines Web sites at the nation's 25 largest papers (the WSJ and USAT are excluded because they're national publications with different audiences and priorities). As you might expect, NYT.com is at the top of the list ("cannot be matched by any other property"), but overall McIntyre found the quality uneven from property to property. Some of the smaller papers do a very good job of engaging readers, while other sites "seem to be designed to keep readers away." Grades are based on strength of content, ease of use and navigation, use of new Web technology (comments sections, message boards and multimedia), layout, presence of advertisers, and size of audiences. Here's what he says about the LAT:
The website is relatively primitive compared to many of the others run by large papers. Navigation, which runs down the left hand side of the pages, is clumsy. The site has a moderately complete video news section. Most of the major stories have a video component. The featured articles on the site play from the strengths of the best reporters from the newspaper. The blogs at the site can be accessed from the homepage, but a visit to the blog section gives the reader a long list of unrelated content. It would be much better if this content was featured more prominently within the relevant sections of the site. As the reader would expect from LA's paper, the entertainment section is complete and well designed. Unlike many metro paper news sites, LATimes.com does an excellent job of presenting local news instead of feeding the reader items that he can find on TV or other online news sites. Grade: B
This is all very subjective stuff, of course, but for what it's worth papers scoring "A's" were the SF Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Detroit Free-Press (A-). Getting B+'s were the Houston Chronicle, Newsday and the St. Pete Times.