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.
Project Front Yard has been launched to help us change our image and our habits.
Alleged victim is a Navy vet with brain trauma resulting from a car accident three decades ago.
Is Mary fading as Vitter solidifies his lock on the fourth floor?
Richard Buswell was sentenced Tuesday to more than 10 years in prison for his role in an investment scheme that defrauded his clients of more than $6 million.
The Latin Music Festival returns to Parc International this Saturday, Oct. 4, from noon to 10 p.m.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has renegotiated contracts for six LSU hospital privatization deals, hoping to reach a compromise with federal health officials that will keep Medicaid dollars flowing to the privatized patient services.
Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is defending her record on gun rights, seeking to rebut sharp criticism from the NRA in a state where the right to bear arms is given special constitutional protection.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Citizens, you have less than a week to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election. Remember, if you don’t vote you can’t complain about the outcome. Well, you can but it’s kind of hypocritical.
After being forced out by its former landlords last year, the community garden has a new location and a 10-year lease.
The party says it has hit a milestone, reaching 10,000 registered voters in the state.
Defensive captain Junior Galette is disgusted by the Saints' sluggish start.
The use of $60 million in Louisiana's public school financing formula to pay for nearly three dozen charter schools violates the state constitution, a statewide teachers' union claimed Monday in a lawsuit.
Security breach at White House; Bejing won't back down from protesters; pressure on third-graders and more national and international news for Tuesday, September 30, 2014.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Lafayette Regional seeking new leadership after longtime director Greg Roberts’ June resignation.
February trial date indicates parties were unable to negotiate a settlement.
T&T show behind the scenes
Four bedroom in Breaux Bridge or four bedroom in Opelousas
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Gov. Bobby Jindal has been viewed as a health care policy wonk, and he's tried to build on that image ahead of a likely 2016 presidential campaign, positioning himself as the candidate with substantive ideas.
Jerry Jones watched what he called the best effort he's seen in 25 years as owner of the Dallas Cowboys in the first half, and that was before Tony Romo had the longest scramble of his career and DeMarco Murray finished off yet another 100-yard game.
Two of the most recognizable women in Republican politics, Sarah Palin and Mary Matalin, have been heavily involved in Louisiana’s current election cycle.
Even though the Louisiana Democratic Party has thrown its support behind former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ congressional bid, national Democrats are not expected to follow suit.
“[Mike] is no longer the energetic ADA that his recent ad is trying to portray. I just think Mike needs to get the hell out.” — Kermit Harson, DA Mike Harson’s brother
The New Orleans Saints have listed Jonathan Goodwin as questionable for Sunday night's game in Dallas, raising the prospect that second-year pro Tim Lelito will start at center for the first time.
The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.
The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims decreased to 2,068 from the previous week's total of 2,071. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,494 claims.
Museum of Fear opens its 2014 season with more scares than ever before.