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New Web site to be gift that keeps giving

Christmas may only be two days away but we plan to offer a holiday surprise to our readers the day afterwards.

The Ironton Tribune will launch its newly designed Internet site on Dec. 26, a project that will allow us to better serve our community and allow you — the readers — to get more involved.

It has been a long labor of love. Some people with good memories may remember that we hoped to launch the site in the early fall.

Well, all I can say is that my enthusiasm for the changing ways in which newspapers have to serve the community outweighed my technical skills.

Honestly, the long delay stems from one thing: Our desire to get it right. We didn’t want to do something half way or launch a site that wasn’t a huge improvement over what we currently offer.

And while it has taken longer than anticipated to work out a few bugs, we feel that this site is a positive step toward providing a more comprehensive, constantly changing information site that gives readers what they need quickly, interestingly and accurately.

Although we know we aren’t necessary blazing new ground with some of these changes, they will all allow us to serve the community better.

Two of our biggest focal points for designing the new site were making it user friendly and more interactive. After all, our Web site and our newspaper’s biggest responsibility is to give the community a voice. We feel this electronic avenue will help us to do that better than anyone.

Using a clean, easy-to-use interface, the new site will offer a variety of features to accomplish this. Readers will be able to make comments and offer feedback on news stories, opinion items, even offer online condolences.

A daily Web poll will seek your opinions on issues that are important to the entire community.

Reader-submitted photo galleries will allow all of us to see Lawrence County and the Tri-State through the lenses of our residents.

Other items will be able to be submitted online including calendar items, letters to the editor and news tips.

Perhaps the first thing people will notice is that more photographs will be featured on the site. We want to showcase all the wonderful things going on in the region and a picture truly is worth a thousand words.

From a home-page slideshow to more photos with stories, to photo galleries, we feel this new site will be fun and easy to look at.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Even now we are already looking at ways to make the site better and you will likely see minor changes in the next few weeks.

We plan to keep finding ways to put more and more content onto the site including anniversaries, police reports and courthouse news. Video, audio and other forms of media will become more vital as we continue to find new and interesting ways to serve the community.

Plus we will begin tying the newspaper and the Web site closer together so that they complement each other and provide the best information package possible.

We want The Ironton Tribune’s Web site to be one Christmas gift that no one will ever want to return.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com.