More changes are here.
A little more than a year ago in this space I wrote about the changes The Commercial Review was experiencing. They included vast staffing changes and an effort to expand local coverage.
The changes are continuing.
The CR will launch its new web site Monday.
One of our goals when designing the new site was to make better use of the overall space. So we’ve removed the left-hand column that includes a list of sections and the right-hand column that contains small advertisements and occasionally a poll.
Sections links — news, sports, opinion, family, obituaries, etc. — will instead be organized at the top of the page. With them will be links for users to log in, subscribe, click through to our Facebook or Twitter pages and search the site.
With the expanded space, we’ll be doing a better job of displaying the most important local news. Our top stories will be displayed, with photos, prominently near the top of the page.
The advertisements that used to be in the right-hand column will instead be interspersed throughout the web site. They’ll also be larger (300x250 instead of the current 100x100), which we hope will be more attractive to consumers and more enticing for advertisers.
There will be obvious cosmetic changes as well, most notably the shift to a green, black and white color scheme. The “Today’s edition” link will move from the upper left corner of the web site to the lower right. And we’ll shift to a three-column format from the current two.
But perhaps the biggest change will not be in the look of our web site, but in how we operate.
In the past, we’ve covered meetings, games and local events, sent them to press for the newspaper about noon the next day and then posted those stories to the web site. Now, our online coverage will be far more timely.
Instead of waiting until the next day, our reporters will head straight back to the office following events in order to post a summary — about 100 words — on the web site. We’ll then send notifications via Facebook and Twitter.
No longer will you have to wait until the next day to know what happened.
We’ll then follow that short post by posting the full story after the newspaper is complete, just as we have for years.
It’s a step toward immediacy in the ever-changing journalism world as we try to balance print and web.
No doubt there will be some growing pains, for you and for us, as the new web site is introduced. Change always causes some unforeseen issues.
In the long run though, we believe the new web site will help us serve you better.