They say the more things change the more things stay the same but I havenít seen much stay the same lately.
We are certainly not staying the same around here. We have been working for many months getting ready to launch our new and improved website and on Tuesday we will have lift-off. The new site will be called grandlakenews.com, representing the area of readership that we serve.
When I came to the Grove Sun as publisher in May 2009, the site had just recently converted to a subscriber only site except for the classified ad pages. In an effort to fend off theft of reportersí stories by other media and to combat dwindling subscriber revenue, many newspapers have opted for the paid approach to their website.
While the Grove Sun was a subscriber only site, we still averaged around 2,000 viewers a day, which I feel is a pretty good number for a paid site. This continued interest in the newspaper website, even though it was paid, told me that residents want and need information that only their local newspaper can provide.
Our new website will not only have a new look but it will be filled with all kinds of bells and whistles including interactive pages, contests, photos and video, mobile accessibility and more. We are also planning to live stream some special meetings and events in the near future.
Initially, our website will have free access for subscribers and non-subscribers alike, but as a newspaper we are working on ways to safeguard some of our exclusive content. Our new enhanced e-edition, which is a carbon copy of the newspaper, only better, will be available to subscribers. We are also in the planning stages for a new design for our print edition and plan to launch our new look in the fall.
One of our writers, Peggy Kiefer, was chosen by our parent company, American Consolidated Media, to be a part of the Digital Reporter Project. Peggy received an iPad to use as a tool in the field to upload stories, photos, videos to our website on the spot, thus providing our readers with minute-by-minute information if necessary.
Peggy is all over the place, and if you havenít run into her yet, I assure you that you will soon. Iím really proud that ACM chose Peggy and the Grove Sun as part of this project test. There is no stopping Peggy now.
So, while I say there are a lot of changes going on, I truly mean that in a positive way. As readers choose to get their news and information in a more interactive fashion, we are positioning ourselves to be that go-to place for whatever way you choose to get your news and we are really excited about our future.
Cheryl Franklin is the publisher of the Grove Sun and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org