Website Changes: Less Cussing, More Updates on What Matters
I have been fortunate in my journalism career to do a number of different things.
The big leap from reporter to editor years ago seemed a vast chasm at the time. But looking back now, it was a mere puddle jump.
About 18 months ago, after a few years of watching good colleagues get laid off and seeing the newspaper industry retreat and retrench, I was accorded the rare opportunity to join the future. I moved from the traditional newspaper business to take command of digital news operations for The News & Record in Greensboro.
In this role, I became responsible for managing that paper's website and its social media, and make up for lost time by bringing the business into the mobile age. Since this was the future for the business, it was a lifeboat floating by at the perfect time.
Once aboard this boat, I needed to learn how to work the oars. I could use the Internet and Facebook as well as the next person, but understanding how it all worked, learning how to walk the walk and talk the talk - there was the challenge.
Technical proficiency was just one aspect. I had to learn where we - both the industry and the paper - had been and where we needed to be going.
Little did I know then how well all of that would serve me when, a year later, I became editor of The Pilot. From the first discussion, Publisher David Woronoff was clear he wanted an editor who could move this paper's digital efforts forward in addition to building on the paper's reputation as a high-quality community newspaper.
Few community newspapers have dedicated the resources The Pilot has over the years to building a strong digital presence. Many take for granted the quantity of content that can be read and viewed; the blogs that can be written and read; and the forums for commentary. It's no small endeavor and entails a great deal of behind-the-scenes work to pull it all off.
With all that said, I wanted to share with you a few changes we've made in recent days to the site. They're not very noticeable, but in total they represent the start of more changes designed to update, enhance and improve your experience on the site.
The first change is one you night owls might have perceived. Content from our Wednesday, Friday and Sunday papers used to go up on the website at midnight, almost 10 hours before newspapers start hitting the streets. This wasn't really giving the paper a fighting chance, and folks reading stories at midnight were missing out on other content in the paper under the mistaken belief they'd "read it all."
As of this past weekend, newspaper content is going live on our site at noon the day of publication. Breaking news and other updates will still go up immediately.
The second change is related to the first. While newspaper content will go live later in the day, we are committed to posting more breaking news and other updates during the day, both on ThePilot.com and on our Facebook page.
We did this earlier in the week with news of a proposed new apartment complex in Southern Pines and the Pinehurst Village Council's vote to ban tobacco and concealed guns from recreational facilities. We are determined to give you news as it happens and as we learn of details, especially when it comes to weather or public safety.
Third, we have installed a profanity filter on the site to weed out - for now - the worst of the worst. We have to be careful, because such filters can have unintended consequences, such as eliminating the word "asset" or "assistant." But there clearly are some choice words that we can safely eradicate, and we've now done so. If successful, we will probably extend its lexicon of the naughty and profane.
Lastly, we will no longer allow comments on crime-related stories, especially stories that involve arrests or suspect descriptions. This is standard practice at most newspapers, and experience over the last few months has shown regularly that comments on these stories frequently are vile and equally injurious to the suspects, the victims and their respective families. The comments don't provide any meaningful information or dialogue. They often provide the opposite.
All of these changes will take a bit of time to work through and become routine. Lapses are bound to occur, and we'll fix them as that happens.
Overall, these changes will make ThePilot.com a more welcoming site for the latest news and information about Moore County. Please let me know what you think of them.
Contact John Nagy at (910) 693-2507 or email@example.com.
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