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Indy launches new but familiar website

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The Independent introduced a redesigned website Thursday with a mobile-friendly layout that matches those of the 50 other daily newspapers owned by the alt-weekly’s new parent company, Lee Enterprises.

Indy General Manager Andy Sutcliffe says the switch has been in the works since Lee, a publicly traded company based in Iowa, bought the paper in April.

“It was really one of the assets that came with the purchase,” he says.

Lee owns five daily newspapers across Montana, including the Missoulian and the Ravalli Republic. The company uses a common design template across its markets in order to more quickly roll out new features, fixes and online products, Sutcliffe says.

Indy homepage

Sutcliffe says the new platform offers features not available on the paper’s previous web platform, including a “responsive” layout that automatically scales to mobile devices that readers increasingly use to read news. It’s simpler to navigate and less visually cluttered than the Indy’s former site, he says.

The switch also allows advertising clients to buy more sophisticated web ads that appear on both the Independent and the Missoulian.

Lee’s daily papers in Montana routinely share stories, slideshows and other content between websites. Asked if that content will appear on the Indy site as well, Sutcliffe says the paper may post some of it, “if it makes sense.”

The Indy’s archive of online stories is searchable on the new site.

Sutcliffe says any “kinks” readers may notice on the site will be worked out in coming weeks.

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