If you believe what you read, the National Post might be winning Canada's newspaper war, but it's the Globe and Mail that's now got the edge in a crucial new battle. NThe fight for readers took a sharp turn a few weeks ago when the action moved online.
The Globe and Mail struck first, launching a radical redesign of its Web site (www.globeandmail.ca) that did much more than simply reprint the day's paper online.
Snappy redesign The Post (www.nationalpost.com) quickly followed with a snappy redesign of its own. Both are useful sites to check out for a rundown of the day's news, but right now it's the Globe that's doing it right.
The Globe appears to be aiming to be a kind of Canadian news portal. Like the Guardian's excellent Guardian Unlimited server (www.guardianunlimited.co.uk), the site's news, sports, weather and ongoing commentary on the day's events are constantly updated.
For example, when the Montreal Canadiens went up for sale, the Globe's sports section posted the story but also had columnists offer their opinion on the event, capturing the energy of the moment with a few hasty but appreciated words.
It's a crucial step. Where the Post's new site is sharp-looking but still largely a static Web version of the paper, the Globe takes advantage of the technology to create a site that changes with the news.
Why this didn't happen earlier is a mystery. Traditional media like TV and radio don't repeat exactly the same news hour after hour, so why should Web publications be any different?
European papers like the Guardian and the Independent caught on early. Credit the Globe for seeing a vacuum and filling it.
It all makes the Star's hopelessly obscure and largely unchartable excuse for a Web site (www.thestar.ca) look even more foolish.