Stories from the Front
A woodcut of Yellow Springs by Gail Kort, ca. 1985

"Xenia Avenue, Yellow Springs, Ohio" woodcut by Gail Kort, 1980; courtesy of the artist.

Web feedback both ways

We’ve received feedback about our new Web site since our launch in April 2010, of course. Many of you regularly log on to see what’s new. The daily updates always focus on some aspect of community life whether business, governmental, our village schools or the many educational and cultural opportunities for seniors and adults, and definitely addresses the plethora of goings on around this, our unique spot in the universe.

Some of the Home page stories are previews of stories you’ll find in the following week’s paper. We know people read the obituaries just like they do in the print version (this is true of all newspapers) but we put them up as soon as we hear about them now. Classifieds are popular, too, followed by the Forums. We know that there is much interest in village life and staff blogs. The most viewed articles so far concerned Dave Chappelle buying Kings Yard, Asha Morgan stepping down at the Antioch Company and the farewell given to John Gudgel. Most of you tell us you like the new look and content.

Alas, some folks are confused. Change challenges the best of us. It is true that some people were used to “reading” the paper on the old Web site on Thursdays, the same day subscribers received their papers. We still put most of the paper up on the new site, but a week later. It is just arranged differently because of the new site framework. But essentially we couldn’t continue to put the paper up on the Web for free on the week that the print version comes out. Besides having the honor and responsibility of being the community’s record keeper, we must sell papers. Most of you can understand that, I am sure. We’ll help anyone flummoxed by the new format to navigate it. Just ask us.

Some feedback can be summarized like this: “The News determines the content, so I can’t participate.” Well, you can comment on anything posted. Just “subscribe” using your real first and last name. Why? Because we want polite discourse and believe this is the best way to assure it. We ask for a valid e-mail address so we don’t get jammed by “trollers”, too. If you have something to share, the Forums await you. If you have an event or a story idea, e-mail a press release (i.e., who, what, where, when, why) by our deadline each Monday at 5 p.m. to ysnews {at} ysnews(.)com (for the paper) or drop it off between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. any day. What’s not to participate in?

We decided that our Web site would be driven by the same criteria by which we publish the newspaper. That is, we ask questions and check the facts. We like to think that still counts for something and that it is just as important to readers of our Web site as it is to readers of our print edition. (Letters to the Editor hold us to a pretty high standard.) To me, that is the difference between journalism, whether in a print version or a Web version, versus the interesting, but sometimes dangerous “news” sites out there. Witness the latest national brouhaha involving Shirley Sherrod, who has a local connection, by the way, which you know about if you checked our Web site last weekend (it’s still there); or, if you buy a paper this week you can read the expanded story.

We’re proud of how far we’ve come in developing the site, and we meet regularly to address problems and generate new ways to use this awesome tool. It’s a work in progress as anyone with a Web presence knows.

Let us know what you like about the new site and what you’d like to see in the future. You can respond to this blog or e-mail classifieds {at} ysnews(.)com. You can also call 767-7373. We’d love to hear from you.

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One Response to “Web feedback both ways”

  1. Yvonne Wingard says:

    I LOVE the new format; I check the site every day to see what’s up. I mean, this is what’s going on in Yellow Springs, in one way or another. Bright pictures, easy to navigate once to get used to it….I think it’s much smarter than just reprinting the paper. I almost NEVER looked at the old website. BRAVO!!

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