I’ve learned two things over the last few months about launching a new Web site: Don’t do it unless you’re committed. The process promotes gray hair.
Last year, probably during the summer — it’s a blur now — a few of us at the paper got to thinking. That’s generally a dangerous undertaking, more so when the topic is technology, which we in the print medium have embraced like children embrace vaccinations — we’re told it’s good for us, it probably is, maybe, but damn.
The decision to give theind.com an overhaul — I would have said face lift, but that’s far too light a word; this is more akin to a lobotomy — grew from a mishmash of concerns: The Web site can and should be more user-friendly; it should encourage the user to explore and be engaged without getting lost; too little content is displayed on the home page; those drop down menus are infuriating; the staff isn’t sufficiently stressed out. And certainly not least of all is the realization that, our 20th century sentiments notwithstanding, some day in the not too distant future most print media will be mostly digital, and if we don’t begin moving in that direction, we’re screwed.
The caveat dangling like a modifier over this paradigm shift is that few newspapers have figured out how to make their digital component profitable. But figure it out we must. The Pandora’s Box — free content — was thrown open long ago, and I doubt even the mighty New York Times, which plans to begin charging for content soon, can close it.
At the new ind.com you’ll still see the print edition’s content on the home page: the cover story, lead news and Pooyie! in rotation at the top; the rest of the content is on the left rail under the header “Also This Week.” Below the cover story is the new and improved blogs section. Each header — INDreporter (politics and news), Acadiana Business, A&E, EATS (cooking, dining, drinking and restaurant news), INDextra (sports and anything else that needs a home) and What’s INDStore (yes, even our ad reps are now blogging) — links to zones on the site devoted exclusively to that specific type of content. The most recent blogs in those zones are displayed on the home page as well. Soon we’ll be bringing on more bloggers to add to and diversify our content, especially in EATS, which we all know is a central aspect of life in Lafayette.
Thanks go out to Chad Theriot and especially Blake Judice, our point men at CBM Technology, who led us through the process with patience, or who only cursed our technological ignorance when we weren’t in earshot. We didn’t know what a widget was and they didn’t know what a byline was, but somehow we bridged the communication gulf and arrived at a site we think is better.
It is a given, however, that no small number of you will not like it and will be happy to register your displeasure (and already have — the site went live last Thursday night). It is a significant change. One of the joys of my job is that I get notifications in my in-box every time someone posts a comment on our Web site — all the bile and bane. I’m sure by the time you’re reading this in print, I will have been adequately napalmed by the nabobs.
But we’re confident that most Ind readers will enjoy their experience. We won’t float ads across the screen or use pop-ups (not for now, anyway), or require a log-in for access to content. But we do want you to wander around theind.com, to explore and, especially, to join in the running dialogue about our community.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
"I have never seen anyone who worked harder for our people than Sen. Mary Landrieu, so I would like to share a synopsis of a few of the many things she has done to help Louisiana."
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
Corporations spending in state elections; Kenny G and Hong Kong; states resist gay marriage and more national and international news for Thursday, October 23, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
Three bedroom Acadian or a two bedroom town home
Ready to geaux in purple and gold
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
The recently established Downtown Lafayette Restaurant & Bar Association will host a special viewing of the upcoming New Orleans Saints taking on the Carolina Panthers in the open air of Parc Sans Souci on Thursday, Oct. 30.
Belief in a national outbreak of the Ebola zombie virus is becoming more of a threat every day, and The Hayride — Louisiana’s one true bastion for unrelentingly conservative political commentaries — thought it wise to share a certain special someone's “important message” with readers Tuesday on what to do when, not if, it comes.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.
JPMorgan Chase is giving $1 million to Louisiana's community and technical colleges, to help with workforce training efforts to match students to available jobs.
President Barack Obama is turning to black radio listeners to plead for midterm votes, a targeted approach to drum up Democratic support at a time when many candidates don't want him around in person.
Law firm unveils newly renovated 200-year-old building.
UL grad named web developer at BBR Creative
Lafayette-based emergency department staffing and management company raises $120 million in senior credit facilities through GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services.
High-rise apartment building, parking garage, hotel and retail part of new development.
A common thread runs through many of those we oppose: Enshrining in the Constitution protections on programs and their funding sources has had a disastrous effect on Louisiana’s most important economic development engine.
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
The number of Louisianans with jobs continued to set records in September, but the state's unemployment rate kept rising.