The CNN talent and brass turned out for a TV-style debut of the new CNN.com last night at the One Time Warner Center in NYC.
Some guests were greeted as they arrived by anchor Campbell Brown and “American Morning” anchor John Roberts, “Newsroom” anchor Kyra Phillips, and correspondent Deborah Feyerick all came to see the new design as did many of the top executives from CNN including President of CNN/US Jon Klein, EVP of CNN Worldwide Ken Jautz, EVP and COO of CNN Ad Sales Greg D’Alba, and EVP of CNN News Services Susan Grant.
Kenneth “KC” Estenson, SVP and GM of CNN.com, walked the crowd through the new design that its 38 million visitors a month will get to experience starting Monday. The site was in development for over six months, and we hear that executives from the television end were regularly updated on the plans and progress.
Some CNN employees were surprised that details of the design didn’t leak during the development process. Not that there’s anything particularly controversial or revolutionary. In fact, one of the main goals of the redesign was to highlight the content that was already on the site and to improve the user experience with enhanced video and some customization, not to reinvent things.
CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton told us that they were very careful not to tinker too much with the things that work well about the site. Estenson joked that Walton’s personal request was that it be “easy to use.” Walton told us that he wanted the visitor experience to be the top priority, adding, “Having the video right in the middle is a good thing for the user.”
There are some departures, like a CNN Entertainment section taking advantage of content from EW and People, an Opinion section, special partnerships with Oprah and TED, and a new service in beta called “NewsPulse.”
WebNewser has the details on the new design and more from Estenson.