From an information architecture perspective, most of the best designed sites on the Web today are newspaper sites. To succeed, news sites must put a structure to a huge amount of traditional content - stories, features, blogs - and online-specific media such as slideshows, audio and video.
How these sites are designed and developed is often a closely-guarded secret, only known to newspaper management, in-house online departments, and the creative agencies who draft and build them. So it's refreshing to get a behind-the-curtain peek at how Swiss-via-Japan agency Information Architects (iA) created sites for local newspapers Tagesanzeiger, Basler Anzeiger, and the Berner Zeitung.
Behind the sites is a consistency of design driven by a single content management system called Newsnetz. iA offers a fascinatingly-detailed description of their work, even showing how the Tagesanzeiger site is structured by old-skool design basics such as grids and baselines -- you'd be surprised how many sites ignore these -- and comparing it to the previous version.