Crain’s new website holds ‘open house’

Crain'sThe folks at Crain’s Chicago Business unveiled a beautifully redesigned website this week — and now they want everyone to see it.

So they’re holding an “open house” on the site, dropping their usually strict paywall and inviting non-subscribers to sample everything online for one week (including the just-released “40 under 40” list for 2014). The free peek runs through December 12 at

The new streamlined look is smart, clean and easy to navigate. It works easily on any device.

Frank Sennett

Frank Sennett

The only disappointment is the absence of Crain’s top columnists from the home page. Having to click multiple times to locate Greg Hinz or Rich Miller under “politics” or Shia Kapos under “lifestyle & dining” seems needlessly cumbersome. Worse yet are the snubs to Danny Ecker and John Pletz. Now you have to hunt for their columns under “sports” and “technology,” respectively. Their readers deserve better.

But otherwise, it’s a beauty.

The rollout of the new website coincides with the promotion of Frank Sennett to director of digital and custom media. Sennett, former president and editor-in-chief of Time Out Chicago, joined Crain’s last January as director of digital strategy.

One other change longtime readers may notice: Crain’s no longer includes those quaint courtesy titles on second reference to subjects in its stories. So it’s no more “Mr. Smith” or “Ms. Jones.” Now it’s just plain “Smith” and “Jones.”