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St. Petersburg Times' Sports Web site named Top 10 by Associated Press Sports Editors

The St. Petersburg Times' Sports Web site has been chosen one of the Top 10 in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors for newspaper sites with more than 1-million monthly unique visitors.

The judging was done by a panel of APSE members. The organization started honoring the best sports sections and sports writing in 1981. This is the first year the APSE has rated newspaper sites.

Others in the top 10: New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, New York Daily News, Philadelphia Daily News/Inquirer and The Oklahoman.

"The judges came away very impressed by the efforts evidenced on the day we randomly selected," said Gerry Ahern, assistant managing editor for Yahoo! Sports. "From microsites for specific local teams and sports, to video, to blogs, to live chats, to breaking news, the editors clearly understand the importance of not only drawing, but trying to engage their audiences.

"Getting down to a top 20 in each category was very difficult. There's a lot of great work being done."

Readers know they can count on the Times for the latest and most comprehensive coverage of our local sports teams. We take great pride in our ability to beat the on-line competition — locally and nationally — with up-to-the-minute news and commentary on the teams most important to our users.

In recent months, we've broken dozens of stories on our Web site — from the Bucs releasing five veterans (including popular linebacker Derrick Brooks) to the demotion of defensive coordinator Jim Bates, from the Rays giving manager Joe Maddon a three-year contract extension to the Lightning ownership situation and the NCAA Infractions Committee's report on Florida State.

We also commit significant resources to producing multimedia. From our award-winning Friday Night Rewind high school football video highlights show, to our new video previews of Tampa Bay area golf courses, to post-game audio reports from Buccaneers games, to slideshows from nearly every event we staff, we believe we have created a comprehensive Web package that offers something for everyone.

We offer numerous opportunities for readers to interact with us, through comments on stories to polls, weekly chats with our beat writers and in-game blogs during major pro, college and high school events.

In anticipation of the Super Bowl coming to Tampa last February, we created audio slide shows of the Top 25 Super Bowl moments, narrated by legendary broadcaster Pat Summerall, and allowed readers to rank them.

During the past year, we completely revamped our online coverage of high school sports. HomeTeam provides team pages for every major sport for our 90 area schools, easy-to-find scoreboards, schedules, standings, area leaders and a special page for recruiting news. Our most popular feature is our live Friday night football scoreboard, with up-to-the-minute scores and scoring summaries. Also, our Friday Night Rewind videos, posted before sunrise on Saturday mornings, feature scores, video highlights and hijinks from our high school sports writers.

In September, we launched Golf Tour, a comprehensive guide to the Tampa Bay golf scene. In addition to individual profile pages for each of our 74 area public golf courses, we are producing "video reviews" of each course to give golfers a visual preview.

Look for more innovations in the coming year.

St. Petersburg Times' Sports Web site named Top 10 by Associated Press Sports Editors 12/28/09 [Last modified: Monday, December 28, 2009 5:38pm]
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