The Houston Chronicle's New, "Improved" Web Site: Day Six & It's Still Front-Page News

Categories: Spaced City

Dated 8/31/12, still up there 9/06/12.
The Houston Chronicle has taken time out from promising its overworked staffers more barbecue (in lieu of raises) to initiate an elaborate roll-out for its redesigned homepage.

There was a party at Hotel Zaza for "community leaders":

Elite members of Houston's business and journalism communities gathered Thursday for a sneak peek at the redesign of at the Hotel ZaZa.

The new site includes a better navigation bar, more news important to Houston, more visibility for niche content (including 29-95, FuelFix and Ultimate sports websites), larger photos and slideshow carousels and a redesigned logo.

A redesigned logo!!!

The official launching can be somewhat tracked by the stories about it that show up on the Web. For the past week, the Web site's front page has been offering a story dated 8/31/12 headlined "Houston's top local news website unveils new look" (clicking through reveals "Houston's top local news website" is....the Chron).

That story has been updated twice, on September 1 and 3. It tells of "a dramatic facelift."

That dramatic facelift involves a "new layout [that] is simple and clean, with bright colors and large photos to enhance the visual experience."

To be honest, it doesn't look all that different than the old layout.

But we are enjoying the hell out of trying to guess just how long they're going to be hyping this thing. A full week? Can they possibly keep an item about a Web redesign on their front page for a full week?

We're guessing they can, just because it's so dramatic and all.

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I was the primary maintainer and developer of the entire Hearst blogging network from January 5 through Friday, July 13, 2012, including,, etc.


My contract was summarily terminated without cause or warning after I had just finished working 563 hours (123 overtime!) getting the implementation of to somewhat work (after my manager Mr. Slusher let the project totally blow up) and doing most of the backend work for the chron blog redesign and migration to new servers.


I was terminated so quickly they wouldn't even let me submit 30+ hours of work I had almost completely done, including a complete re-implementation of the blogs' gallery system. I felt adrift and that's what I get for working os hard for a company that my relationships and health suffered.


It was mostly because of my unexpected, unnecessary termination that the blog redesign was not released on 21 July 2012 as scheduled. I had talked to my manager just the day before of my intense desire to take two weeks of unpaid time off, because I was beat to the bone; he denied me a vacation saying, "Ted, we need you too much". Then the next day, he terminated me.


The guy never had the courage to tell me I was let go. He had the contract agency deliver the message. He never once told me why. He told others it was due to lack of funds but immediately hired outsourcers who struggle to keep pace.


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