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CBC News has launched new portable media applications and a redesigned website it says will present more breaking news, local events and better access to news on smartphones and online.

By adding more online video, building new photo galleries, adding live blogging tools, even producing an edition of The National specifically for mobile, CBC says the changes mark the biggest digital media developments the organization has gone through since the original CBC Newsworld site launched in 1996.

Rachel Nixon, director of Digital Media, CBC News says the revamped site and new apps were developed with input from users and viewers, an online audience CBC News calls one of the most active for any news site in Canada.

Since March 2008, CBC says it's received more than 8,000,000 comments; with this past January alone seeing over 300,000 comments across all news properties.

It's long been a part of a news site's community-building efforts that content can be shared on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and CBC makes use of tools to let users see what other CBC content users are recommending on social media networks.

For example, a Recommendations module shows a user just what topics have been recommended by friends, based on Facebook log-ins and connection settings.

Many other social media features have been incorporated into the new CBC news site, based on input and development activities by Kim Fox, CBC senior producer social media, and Adrian Ma, associate producer working with user generated content.

While commenting and reading threaded comments on a particular story have long been popular features, now, CBC says, replies to specific comments will be possible, although not all stories can be commented upon.

Rather than showing individual thumbs up, thumbs down 'scores' in the comment sections, a cumulative ranking will be shown.

And, with a feature reminiscent of  Facebook's Unfriending tool, CBC News site users can now turn off or hide particular comments, or comments from particular community members.

Nevertheless, developers say it is easier to follow content on the new site.

CBC has  recently introduced a breaking news "ticker" on the homepage that displays the latest developments. Top stories are marked with text-based 'red flags' that indicate what's new or breaking since a previous visit to CBCNews.ca.

Another display feature marks 'Need to Know' stories or facts that highlight major developments.

The site makes greater use of multimedia, with more live streaming video of news events and tracking stories in real time - and often direct from the scene, such as with recent developments in Egypt or Libya.

Seeking a way to make greater use of the CBC library of video and audio from both local and network programs, as well as content created exclusively for the Web, the site now allows visitors to watch video or listen to audio without leaving the text story.

Photo galleries have been revamped, as well, in large and small formats. Thumbnails are easily scrolled, and then viewable in a large-screen overlay when selected.

CBC says it will continue to add media components to the site, which will have wider pages to allow gathering live news content in one place.

The new CBC Mobile News app is available free of charge for iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Android.

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