I've been checking out the screenshots and early weekend implementation of the new CNN.com redesign. Several of my journalist and non-journalist friends have been weighing in on links I've posted on Facebook (although my CNN buds have been keeping fairly quiet, as is proper. I did same in public forums when I worked there).
Disclaimer: I was a cyberculture columnist for CNN.com from 2002-2005, where I often had to advocate for certain "bloggish" types of discourse that were not generally permitted on the site because the online common wisdom or ways of knowing (crowd-sourced consensus on cyber-topics, usually) couldn't be traced to some important person quoted as saying "X" (an absolute requirement for CNN.com at the time), or because online "conventional" wisdom didn't necessarily jive with journalistic copyediting standards of "The Row" at that time.
Times have certainly changed, both in the network and with the site's embrace of citizen media (something I was also an early advocate for), and now, in its turn toward the site stylings of online "opinion writing" found at Huffington Post and The Daily Beast, among other blog and news aggregators (more on that below).
For what it's worth, a full archive of my CNN.com columns can be viewed here. I was employed by Turner Broadcasting from 2001 to the end of 2006, when I moved to NYC to take a position at Razorfish, ironically, the company responsible for the CNN.com 2007 redesign (UX and creative). I was not involved in the redesign at either company.
That should cover all necessary disclaimers. All I'm doing here is giving my impressions on the 2009 redesign (largely positive, I'll tell you why), in spite of my friends' initial reactions on Facebook (largely negative, I can speculate why), and what I think may have been lost from what I considered a visually stunning "liquid" (the gray modular look) redesign as proposed by Razorfish and executed by CNN.com in 2007.
What follows is my opinion and my opinion only, and in no way represents the views of any of my employers, past or present.