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Reason Gets a Facelift

Reason.com had plastic surgery this week and all-in-all, it’s shaping up into a good thing.

The site is clean with plenty of white space. There’s a lot of content on the front page but it’s neatly compartmentalized as to not be overwhelming. Featured stories transition smoothly in a slideshow near the top of the page. Just below is a long list of the sites “top stories.”

Flanked on either side of the featured stories are links to Reason‘s two news blogs (which are also linked with verticals at the very top of the page), “Reason 24/7″ and “Hit & Run.”

The 24/7 blog is simply a curator of news from other sites. Each post pulls a couple paragraphs directly from a story, links to the original source and puts it under a slightly tweaked headline. Hit & Run has original posts with news analysis by Reason writers.

In the left column on the front page, under the 24/7 blog link, is a box that shows the Reason.com stories trending on Facebook. That’s different and more interesting than the typical “Most Visited” stories box (though the site has one of those, too).

The ReasonTV portion of the site is as it has always been– original Reason videos on libertarian topics. A box featuring some of the videos is placed in the right column of the front page, just below the Hit & Run blog.

For polling data freaks like TPM‘s Josh Marshall, there’s a vertical dedicated specifically to polls and surveys related to all types of current events from the presidential election to the big-soda ban in New York City.

Speaking verticals, the verticals bar at the top might be the site’s best feature. As with many news sites, there are verticals broken up by topic such as “economics,” “politics” and “culture.” But users often have to click each one individually to see what stories they lead to. Reason‘s verticals drop down when the cursor hovers over them to show photos and headlines behind each.

Three words: Fab. U. Lous.

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