Web site giving me #8216;electronic deja vu#8217;

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sometimes making changes can become like dominoes. Make one and then it leads to another and another.

That’s the story with irontontribune.com, this newspaper’s online Web site that we work hard to make sure it complements the printed edition.

This may give some readers the strong sense of deja vu — or if you hate change it may just give you the nervous jitters — but the Web site will soon get a new look. Again.

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“What,” you may ask. “Didn’t The Tribune just fix its site?”

Well, yes and no. We did relaunch the Web site in January, garnering mostly positive feedback. But the actual process was truly the enlightening part.

That was where we learned that even what we were changing to then didn’t fully meet our needs and that we could better prepare ourselves for the future by bringing it fully in-house and maintaining control.

Well, we were beyond the point of return then so we moved forward with the new site that users enjoy now, with an eye on the future. That future is now, a little sooner than I thought.

And while I think the current site was head and shoulders better than what we replaced, the upcoming incarnation of irontontribune.com will be that much more of an improvement immediately and long-term as we continue to refine how we need to adapt to a 24-hour news cycle that isn’t hampered by publications.

With that said, users will see the new Web site in early September. And, by design, it will look somewhat different but there will be several elements that feel very familiar.

All of the popular features will remain. Readers will still be able to post comments. Police reports and court records will still be available. Celebration news will continue to be featured. Opportunities to display video will be increased.

Plus, we have a host of new ideas that will help make this your Web site — no matter where you live.

Each high school and area college will have its own section. Want to read all the recent stories about the Fighting Tigers? It will be one link away. Want to follow the Chesapeake Panthers? Gotcha covered.

The same goes for each major community in the county. Proctorville news will be easy to find. Coal Grove news will be packaged together and so on for the villages of Lawrence County.

Special section content of the newspaper will be available in some format.

New blogs will allow certain members of the editorial staff to have a way of just sharing tid bits of information about the newspaper, the community and life in general that maybe wouldn’t have a place elsewhere.

Photo galleries will continue to be a big part of what we want to offer the community. In fact, you will see an entire Web site dedicated to capturing the people that make southern Ohio great.

I don’t want to reveal too much about this yet but keep your eyes open. You just might get scene. (And no I didn’t misspell that.)

So that is a little glimpse at what we are working on and what the Tribune staff thinks is important for an online newspaper.

The big question is: What do you think?

We welcome the feedback, input and ideas that can make irontontribune.com better. Shoot me an e-mail or post a comment.

The Tribune wants to be your newspaper, your web site and your source for information that you need in your life.

Since we did a relaunch a few months ago, it seem like I said that before but some things are so important they merit a second take.

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.