This morning, Project, Richard Branson's iPad-only magazine, went live in the iTunes store. Publishers Weekly gives a little glimpse inside the first issue. It looks very magaziney.
Speaking of which, Gawker head Nick Denton is announcing a new layout for Gawker that will launch in 2011. He's saying farewell, in part, to the eternal bottomless pit of blogs. Gawker will look more like a magazine:
The blog scroll, long the central element of the page, is shifted to the right column, still prominent but subordinate; that reverse-chronological listing of the latest stories goes from about two thirds of the active area of the front door down to one third; and only headlines are displayed.
In place of the original content column: one visually appealing "splash" story, typically built around compelling video or other widescreen imagery and run in full. At its best, a splash will match in visual impact the cover of a magazine or a European tabloid newspaper; and exceed it because the front-page image can actually move.
His explanation for why this change was necessary makes a lot of sense. During the Gizmodo iPhone scoop...
In order to keep video of the iPhone prototype at the top of the reverse chronological flow, Gizmodo actually stopped publishing for several hours. How ridiculous! In any sane medium, a story as powerful as that, one which was drawing more than 90% of the site's traffic, would be given commensurate real estate; and it wouldn't require a hack to keep the item prominent. Hence the splash story; now we can finally create front pages that match the visual impact of a tabloid wood or magazine cover; and we can leave them up as long as they're generating interest.
This is a smart move by Denton; the standard blog formula is great for immediacy's sake, but it just doesn't work if you're working on something a little denser than the standard news-cycle rehash. I expect to see more blogs mature into an online magazine format over the next few years.