The Chronicle launched its revamped website last week to a wide-ranging combination of rave reviews and downright complaints.
Although many of the bugs, kinks, quirks and mistakes have already been fixed at www.omakchronicle.com, many more remain or will be discovered in the coming weeks.
The fairly sudden change has not been particularly easy for the public or for the newspaper’s staff, but this is a move for the long term. As the flaws of the new site are worked out, I believe it will be a vast improvement in the overall product we deliver to our readers and customers.
It will serve as a companion piece — not a replacement of — our printed product.
Our hope is that the content filling our news pages and our online pages will be required reading for those in the region who want to stay up to date on the news of their communities.
While the print product remains the newspaper’s flagship, the online site opens up possibilities for audio and video clips, photo slideshows, reader commentary and staff blogs — all of which I think will be very popular as the site gains traction.
But bear with us — it won’t happen overnight.
Another area I think will be popular is the Twitter widget located on the main landing page.
Some regular readers may have already noticed it in action as results from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspaper Contest were sent across the airwaves live as The Chronicle’s award-winners were announced.
My initial response to the Twitter feed was “Who actually uses Twitter?”
But with the setup of the new site, The Chronicle’s tweets reach everybody who visits the Web page, not just those who follow us on Twitter. This unlocks an endless potential. Results of sporting events, city council votes, elections, breaking news and more all have the potential to be broadcast through Twitter.
It will eventually allow readers to keep tabs on events they aren’t able to attend in person.
With the massive size of the county — and the fact that many local sports teams travel all across the state for contests — this will be a key tool for our readers to take advantage of.
The new site also features an interactive poll, so while you’re checking out our changes, take a moment to vote.
We plan on regularly putting up new polls, in addition to the stories, photos and other features as we get the site up and running to its capabilities.
As with any change, there’s always going to be some give and take, a little bit of negative along with the positives.
That’s bound to be the case with The Chronicle’s website, as well.
But remember, this shift comes not for the immediate payoff, but for the long-term approach to the delivery of online news in Okanogan and Ferry counties.
Feel free to send me an email and tell me how much you love the new site, or how much you hate it. Just be sure to let us know why.
Garrett Rudolph is the managing editor of The Chronicle. He can be reached at 509-826-1110 or via email at email@example.com.