Thursday, May 22, 2008

This past week, the Cassville Democrat launched its new and improved website. If you haven't seen it yet, go to cassville-democrat.com and take a look.

The site is designed to increase interaction with our readers. You'll find a weekly poll question, some "man or woman on the street" style interviews and the opportunity to comment on any of the stories, editorials or letters that appear in each week's newspaper. Lindsay Reed and myself have also started blogs on the site, which will give us the opportunity to discuss topics of immediate interest and concern and just share our thoughts with you, our readers.

As a print journalist, I must admit I drug my feet when it came to creating a website. Our first site was launched a number of years ago with good reviews. That site was created by Lori Duncan, a former employee, and it won a statewide award from the Missouri Press Association. After operating the site for awhile, we decided it was negatively affecting our subscriptions so we stopped it. A number of years later, the website was resurrected using the services of a newspaper website company. That is the site you have been used to visiting for the past several years. Based on comments we received from our readers, that site was very limited in its content and also lacked interactivity that our readers seemed to want.

Thanks to our affiliation with Rust Communication, the Cassville Democrat was able to launch its latest site, which we are now in the process of finetuning for our readers. The site is still a work in progress, and I expect it will be changing day to day.

Some of the coming attractions will include video of breaking news events, expanded photo galleries of events we cover, the opportunity to add your own photos to our site and the possibility of publishing big news stories as they happen in advance of our weekly publication day.

As editor of the Cassville Democrat, I hope our new web site will enhance our coverage of the news and events that affect Barry County. The site is not intended to replace the printed newspaper you receive in your mailbox each week. Instead, it is intended to serve as a supplemental resource. We also firmly believe that advertising on our website in conjunction with ads in our newspaper will provide the perfect way to promote your business.

In the coming weeks, let us know what you think of the new cassville-democrat.com. If you have any suggestions for the site, post your comments on my blog or Lindsay's. We also invite you to comment on the stories we write each week. We plan to pay attention to your reviews of the site and try to incorporate as many of your suggestions as possible for improving the site.

We will also be looking to add additional bloggers to our site. If you have an idea for a blog, let us know and we'll see if it fits the vision of our website. Anyone who has a unique insight or perspective into the happenings around Barry County is invited to contribute. Pitch us your idea and we'll take a good, hard look at it.

The Cassville Democrat staff is extremely excited about our new website and its potential. The more you visit it and let us know what you think, the better it will become. As always, the Cassville Democrat strives to provide our readers with the best news coverage of Barry County events that we can and we believe our new web0site falls right in line with our overriding mission.