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Standing behind content
March 11, 2008 - Lee Smith
FAIRMONT — The newspaper and the Internet have been working hand in hand for years now. With an improved Web page, that link is growing stronger at the Sentinel. The new Web site, with a familiar address — www.fairmontsentinel.com — began operating Tuesday. Its aim is to offer more information and more ways for readers to interact with us. At the corporate level — Ogden Newspapers Inc. — our Web gurus have been working for several months to come up with the improvements. They include:
• More content: We post news and sports stories every day, along with obituaries and other items. The new site allows us to add more photos, as well as links to other information.
• More feedback: Readers will be able to add comments to most stories. This feature offers a way for people to participate in the stories affecting their towns and their lives.
• Registration: Readers will sign up with their own accounts; a requirement if they wish to post comments. They also will be able to post photos to our CU photo site. Citizens can still read the online edition without registering, but won’t be able to interact with us. Registration will help us keep comments clean and civil.
• A longer archive: Our Web site has only had an archive going back about seven days. With the new site, some stories will be available almost indefinitely, and all will be available about a month.
• Mobile editions: The site adds a mobile edition to allow readers to access it from their PDAs or cell phones.
• Email alerts: Readers can sign up for email alerts to receive emailed updates on news connected to keywords of interest.
• Blogs: Sentinel staff will have the opportunity to write blogs on a variety of topics. The blog is meant to be a short analysis or opinion.
Why these changes? Computers have altered the way people access information. Newspapers are adapting because they have been providing local content to readers for generations, and because newspapers are well positioned to carry on traditions of accuracy, objectivity and fairness. These virtues are not always found on the Internet. While the World Wide Web is a modern marvel, it also allows people to post all kinds of things that have nothing to do with the principles of accuracy and fairness. Some things may be true, others totally false. The Sentinel will stand behind its Web content just as it stands behind what appears on the printed page.
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