USC Annenberg Online Journalism ReviewUSC





Web Shells: An Introduction
Wrapped Up in a Shell
Web Shells: An Introduction
Evolution of Shells
Types of Shells
Future of Web Shells
Innovative content and organization on a site revolves around Web shells

Many news organizations marvel at the success of CJOnline?s business plan that boasts a 46 percent profit margin. But that business plan would be one more dot-com splat without the site?s innovative content and organization.

There are people who actually think about, talk about, and worry about Web shells, although they may use other terms for them

But -- to paraphrase a saying that's been batted around lately -- this isn't your grandfather's content. This is a Web shell.

There are people who actually think about, talk about, and worry about Web shells, although they may use other terms for them. Rob Curley, who left CJOnline this month to become general manager for the Lawrence Journal-World?s World Online, calls them "evergreen packages." Hal Straus, database editor and manager at Washington Post.Newsweek Interactive, calls them contextual navigation or orbiting content.

Doug Feaver, executive editor of Washingtonpost.com, refers to them as navigation or a sub-section. Whatever you call it -- and I'll stick with shell -- the links to data, resources, backgrounders and archives that wrap around the news of the day or features in sites like Kansas Legislature, the New York Times business site, the Washington Post?s America at War site, and story packages such as the Herald-Sun?s Touching Hearts, are having more impact on the practice of journalism than reporters and editors might suspect.

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On to Evolution...

Jane Ellen Stevens is a freelance multimedia journalist, specializing in science and technology. She teaches courses in multimedia journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.