RYAN C. TUCK: We Need Feedback About our Web Site
Several high school students from around the county are working with me on a teen-focused section of The Pilot. We hope it will help entice younger readers to pick up our newspaper and interact with the news of their community.
As we've been developing this section, I've been asking them, "Where do you go for your news?" The response seems to vary with the voice.
I see equally mixed feedback when it comes to our online readership. Because I can't speak with every reader each day and ask why he or she comes to our site, I'm left with numbers. About 5,000 of you come to our Web site daily. That average drops significantly on the weekends and when it comes to the podcasts and our newly minted blogs.
Readership of breaking news items is not nearly that high either, which means many of you are coming to the site for more than just news. Classifieds, obituaries and advertisements earn varying levels of high readership, while our Sandhills Scene, sports and Photo Gallery sections see significantly less.
And this all means?
I was hoping you'd tell me.
I have been given a simple assignment: Make ThePilot.com the most comprehensive source for Moore County news.
That means using different storytelling methods -- podcasts, audio, photo galleries, blogs -- and constantly updating those "Web" headers you see littered across the front pages.
But my job is very tough when I'm hearing very little from you.
I know people want to be up-to-date at all times, so why does that change on the weekends? We have about as many breaking news items and a headlines podcast, and the blogs are still going. What else do you want to see over the weekend?
I know people want to experience new media, so why do so few Web site visitors stop by the blogs or the podcasts? Is it because they're "new" and "for the techno-savvy"? Let me assure you that if you have a pulse -- and a computer built after 1980 -- you can easily listen to any of the podcasts or get on the blogs.
In short, dear reader, this is a shameless plea for help.
I can only do so well at my job if I hear nothing from you all. Our Web site has come a long way in the past year, and it can do a lot more. I want to know where we go next. The sky is the limit. Pair the Web's boundlessness with my youthful energy and our online support team, and I assure you we can figure out anything.
Drop me a phone call, e-mail, text message or letter -- or stop by the office -- and let me know how you use our Web site and what else you'd like to see. If you have lots of opinions and would like to help out even more, contact me about joining an online task force, which would examine ways of improving ThePilot.com.
It's a vast world out there in cyberspace. It can be pretty lonely if you're running around alone.
Some online changes to note this week:
-- We purchased some new software, called Soundslides, that allows us to produce multimedia slideshows. Basically, each presentation will include photos and audio to allow you to absorb the story in multiple ways. You can now hear, see and experience what the article describes. The first of these presentations is available now with the United Way campaign article. We intend to offer at least one of these "shows" each issue.
-- We are adding four new bloggers this weekend: Linda Cockman, a local politico with a progressive outlook; Ben Nelson, a full-time student and Moore County 911 operator; Gordon White, longtime New York Times sports writer and Pilot contributor; and Pilot staff writer/actor John Chappell, who will provide up-to-the-minute movie notes and more.
Contact Ryan Tuck at 693-2507 or by e-mail at ryan@ thepilot.com.
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