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More delays August 28, 2007

Posted by freezertroll in Freezertroll's Files.
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We’re almost ready. Got a few more tweaks… I sound like a broken record on that… and we have to get the classifieds figured out so that it’s more user friendly.  Other than that we’re ready.

The hold up is policy and procedures for updates. What is going when and by whom. That’s what is drawing us into the cement sludge pile that is progress.

Granted, this gives us time to sell some ads, get some paying customers on the site for the official launch, but until then, enjoy all that is nwtntoday.com

We had planned on launching this weekend, but decided that we’re waiting one more week. So we can get things “right.”

I hope we have it right. I’ve worked my tukas off getting the design elements in place like we want them, learning where everything is in the admin and getting things “pretty” for the public. I think we have done a great thing and it is pretty to look at. So check it out and join up so you can see all the stories and stuff.  We don’t want everything all willy nilly out there. And we have to track demographics don’t we?  It’s free to sign up and you get forum access (Tech Forum is there, with more to come) and read all the stories and see the videos and look at pretty pictures.

Please sign up, cause you know, You love us!

FT

almost there! August 17, 2007

Posted by cravensworld in cravens files.
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We are soooo close! Now comes the get with it time for me. Ads need to be built. I have to learn more about navigating the site. Mucho other stuff too, like code. But, I am excited to see this past year or so of hard work finally start to pay off.

It’s been a while… August 10, 2007

Posted by freezertroll in Freezertroll's Files.
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We’ve been herding chickens lately and have been working hard to get this site up and going and still maintain our other responsibilities.  But…  I found something interesting.

http://searchengineoptimisation.yourspaced.com/2007/03/26/101-tips-to-improve-your-web-presence/ 

Read and enjoy..

An Online Community July 19, 2007

Posted by newscoma in Newscoma Files.
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And here it’s laid out in such wonderful terms that I couldn’t say it better myself.

What if you want to hire someone to build an online community? Somebody to create and maintain a virtual world in which all the players in an industry feel like they need to be part of it? Like being the head of a big trade association, but without the bureaucracy and tedium…

It would help if that person understood technology, at least well enough to know what it could do. They would need to be able to write. But they also have to be able to seduce stragglers into joining the group in the first place, so they have to be able to understand a marketplace, do outbound selling and non-electronic communications. They have to be able to balance huge amounts of inbound correspondence without making people feel left out, and they have to be able to walk the fine line between rejecting trolls and alienating the good guys.

This is what’s going on in our lives right now. We all are trying to figure out the best path. We are dealing with old media vs. new media, people wanting us to build an online community in our spare time. This, however, is what we are attempting to do.

And, as we move further into the project, we realize the task at hand is daunting. But it can be done.

Because we believe it is the right thing to do.

New site… New knowledge… New Everything July 13, 2007

Posted by freezertroll in Freezertroll's Files.
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We’ve been watching for two days as the Bondware Artists hammer away at implementing our new website design.  Watching this thing progress has shown that as much as I know about website design, and the web, I have become aware that there is still much that I have to learn. There is much PHP and Javascript and Flash that is involved as there is HTML and CSS.

Getting everything to work together is a challenge that I’m willing to take on, but that means I have to learn more to keep things new and fresh on the site. I’m ready, but have to prioritize things so that I can take the time to learn. My goal is to pick up something new and try my best to become moderately efficient each month. I have the entire internet worth of resources to teach me what I need to know. Google is the greatest learning tool that is out there. You can run a search on “Photoshop Tutorials” and you can see those results for yourself.

This is fun and scary at the same time. But it’s a good scary.

I’m even more eager to get this thing going and I’m ready to motivate as well as educate all of the staff as to what is necessary to get this thing going and keep things going. Keeping the level of excitement up is probably going to be the biggest obstacle in a world full of old school newspaper people. This is going to be great if we can all put in the effort to make this the best news site in the area.  Take a look at these links and marvel at what we’ve done. Send us comments on what you like, what you don’t like and what we can do to improve.

Wow July 12, 2007

Posted by newscoma in Newscoma Files.
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We are watching the graphic design team build the site on-line while we watch.

To say this is groovy is an understatement.

The other side of developing a Web site July 10, 2007

Posted by Elizabeth in Elizabeth's files.
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Since Newscoma graciously introduced me, I thought that now would be a good time to post.

EC Watts is my name and Web sites are my game. Actually, I try make everyone’s life easier and help develop a Web site with the least amount of tears. I guess I’m the jack of all trades and the master of none. I know enough to be dangerous.

As a recent college graduate thrown into the real world of rural newspapers, starting a Web site is a bit daunting at times. There have been moments where I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel or how this was ever going to get off the ground. Other times, I wake up at 3:30 a.m. on the weekend with an awesome idea of a slogan running through my head. There isn’t an on/off switch when developing a Web site. You’re always on. You’re always thinking about the next step ahead.

I think there have been three main obstacle with developing our baby. One is that developing a Web site is a vicious cycle of hurry up and wait. There are times when the dynamic developers are on a roll, and then all of a sudden, they’re stuck waiting on someone. Sometimes there’s nothing that sounds as glorious as a symphony of keyboard keys clacking and mouse buttons clicking.

The second obstacle is finding the time to work. If we could devote every waking moment to developing a Web site, then I think we could get more accomplished faster, instead of trying to find two hours to work here and there. Freezertroll and Newscoma save the world outside of the Web site many times during the day. Sometimes developing a Web site while keeping up with your primary job is like trying to corral a herd of cats.

The third obstacle is getting people who live and die by the amount of ink on their hands to embrace new technology and realize that in order for the newspaper business to survive, it has to evolve. Newspapers can’t fight against change and be stubborn. If people don’t start embracing the change, the newspaper media outlet will be come stagnant. I just finished studying this concept for the past four years and applying what I’ve learned when I ran a college newspaper. Change and technology is like ripping off a band-aid: the slower you pull it off, the more painful it will be.

I won’t be able to post about technological terms and concepts, because I’m not as intelligent about things like that as Newscoma and Freezertroll. I won’t be able to post about creating artistic ads like Badger, because I can barely color inside the lines. The only thing I can give you is a look at the emotion that’s behind developing a Web site. It’s more than planning the color scheme and typing out the code. You begin to live, eat and breathe the Web site.

So that’s what I’ll be doing. I’ll be your fly on the wall.

Introducing The Web Development Team July 10, 2007

Posted by newscoma in Newscoma Files.
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Badger Beth and EC Watts (also known in some circles as Killa)  are working with us on the web development team. Be sure to check them out in the coming weeks.

Both of these young women are wickedly smart and have a lot to say. Be sure to check them out.

And, Squirrel Queen, also known as Stephanie, has been invited to contribute about the highs, and lows, of working on this project.

Here is a bit of history on everyone so you sort of know who is who:

EC is the former editor of The Pacer, which is the award-winning newspaper of the University of Tennessee at Martin. She’s smart and knows her way around design.

Badger Beth is a graphic artist who is working on the elements of how our ads should look, what will serve our reader and advertising base.

Squirrel Queen (Steph) has been broadcasting and writing sports for 22 years. She is an award-winning photographer and writer garnering awards for the past several years from the Tennessee Press Association and is well respected in northwest Tennessee by coaches and players alike.

Hopefully, you will see posts here that will give additional perspective to our project.

I cannot express how excited, and a bit overwhelmed, everyone is about our project. Right now, we are waiting on the beta,  we are trying to tie down the pieces and are in an on-going game of hurry up and wait much of the time.

And we really haven’t got started yet.

So, I’ll brag on our web development team today. Freezertroll and I are lucky to have them.

All of us have been working after hours on this project which proves to me everyone’s commitment to do something fresh and new. According to Freezertroll, the beta should be available in the next couple of weeks.

And we are all tired. And, I’m sure, that most of them want to whack me in the head with a stick right now.

Justified behavior, of course.

Moving Forward July 5, 2007

Posted by newscoma in Newscoma Files.
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We have been working with the web designer today and expressed what we want. We’ve also been playing around with the template, seeing if it’s friendly for the staff at all of the newspapers.

We had scheduled a couple of days to do this, but at this point, it’s a bit out of our hands. Freezertroll and I discussed what we needed to do while the designers are doing their thing. Now, we are meeting (second time this week) after hours and tomorrow we have to deal with our “regular” jobs at the paper.

Time management. Yikes.

One thing is, we are juggling is getting people who have worked in newsprint their entire professional lives excited about the website. Kevin Slimp said in a seminar last week entitled “Convergence of Media” that someone has to be the “evangelist” with staff.

Yup. I guess that’s me.

Slimp took the story of the warehouse fire in Knoxville in February through when he first heard of it through an email, and how he followed the story on-line. It started with the Knoxville News Sentinel’s coverage at Knox News, then through blogs in the Knoxville area and comment around the nation.

It was a very effective example in describing what we need to do to our owners, who aren’t always fond of the Internet.

With that said, we realize that the task in front of us is huge. We know we are doing something different and we are hoping that we can hammer the details out.

Feedback, of course is welcome. We should have our beta up soon.

And although I’m a bit overwhelmed by it all, I feel like we are moving forward.

A blog about a pitfall we’re trying desperately to avoid… July 5, 2007

Posted by freezertroll in Freezertroll's Files.
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In this blog, there are some strong opinion about the ineffectiveness of “epapers” on the web.

We’re trying really hard to avoid having to have this option. I’m sure we can offer digital copies of the printed product to users if they want it, but we’re going to have to make sure that this is NOT the standard offering of our website. It’s definitely easy to make happen, but I think going this route is a disservice to the readers.

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