The Smoking Gun's New Digs
Site redesign unveiled; next overhaul set for 2023
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