Slowly but surely, it is and will get better.
There will be no opinion detailed in this space today, just more of an explanation.
The last time the Times launched a new and/or revamped website at crookstontimes.com a couple years ago, the company that owns us, GateHouse Media, provided all kinds of materials to keep readers in the loop, so they knew the cool things that would be coming with the new site, and also things they’d need to know about the transition to that site.
This time around, with a Sept. 1 contract expiration deadline with the current company that provided our “content management system” for the site that went away a couple weeks ago, there was a time crunch to get the new site and the new content management system ready, with a couple weeks to spare before Sept. 1 so everyone could work through the inevitable kinks. In all that hustle and bustle, we really didn’t even know what was happening, much less our readers who visit crookstontimes.com.
So the new site and the new content management system that we use are both up and running, but it hasn’t been easy for anyone. The glitches are unavoidable and somewhat understandable, but what’s most frustrating for us is that the site isn’t fully functional. Things are still “in development.”
The Community Blog Network page? In development. It’ll be a few more weeks. In the meantime, we’ve invited two of our more popular bloggers, Dan Wolpert and Margaret Unruh, to send us their blogs and we’ll publish them online as well as in print. The “Most Popular” story list? In development. Until it shows up, you’ll see two “News Now” sections on our homepage, one a horizontally scrolling ticker/crawler across the top of the page, which we really like, and another vertical list to the right of the “Top Stories” list that somehow isn’t as up to date as the ticker and simply looks redundant. Soon, the vertical “News Now” list will be replaced by a “Most Popular” list detailing which stories on the site are generating the most traffic.
And videos? They’re publishing properly now, but it was a major drag during Ox Cart Days weekend when none of our videos would upload. We posted them directly to the Times’ Facebook page and they were hugely popular, but not getting them onto our actual site until two days after the festival ended was – Do you sense a theme here yet? – frustrating.
The reader commenting interface? It’s kind of a mystery right now. We’re receiving emailed reader comments on various stories and opinion pieces, but we’re not sure exactly where they’re coming from or what we’re supposed to do with them. But we’re trying hard to find out.
What this editorial is asking is that you stick with us and try to be patient. From what we can see, later this year, the site is going to have a whole bunch of new features that will make visiting it quite an experience. In the meantime, we think you’ll see small improvements almost on a daily or at least a weekly basis.
Thanks for reading this, and thanks for reading the Times.