Notice anything different?
This week, we’re introducing a whole new design and under-the-hood functionality for the Gazette. While most sections you’re used to are still here, the navigation and layout have changed, and we’ve added some nifty new features we hope you’ll enjoy.
- New navigation at top of each page: Now you can access all of our “static” pages (the ones that don’t change often) and the categories of news and features from the horizontal menus under the logo.
- Most recent articles are listed in the left column.
- Archival links in some left columns, to take you back to articles in the “old” Gazette
- Comments! Want to share your thoughts on local news? Leave a comment on almost any of our articles. We ask that you use civil and respectful language.
- New Garden Guide section, written by three local Master Gardeners, based on research from Cornell University and endorsed by the Cooperative Extension of Westchester County.
- Coming soon: a new and improved local business and organization directory
- Even more participation from citizen journalists through our simple browser-based article entry method
What makes the Larchmont Gazette so informative, so full of local news that matters to you? It’s because the Gazette is written by and for local residents. (Read more about the Gazette’s beginnings here.) We are always looking for more volunteer reporters to cover local events, give us story ideas, and get involved in this community project. Email us for more information.
Why We’re Doing This
The “old” Gazette was just fine, you might be thinking. Why change?
Since we founded the Gazette in 2002, we’ve been publishing the paper the old-fashioned way, using a program called Dreamweaver to create the HTML files for each article. The workflow was time-consuming and prone to miscommunication and errors, since our intrepid reporters (citizen journalists) had to email us their copy and photos, which then had to be prepped for publication. Revisions had to be emailed too, resulting in much more work for our editors.
With the new system, a reporter can simply come to the administration area of the site, login, and enter the copy and photos via the web browser. The article sits in a queue until an editor can approve it and release it for publication. At any time, the reporter can come back and make revisions and additions.
Into the Future
Using the new system to publish the Gazette is not just a time-saver and efficiency-increaser for us now. It will allow future editors and administrators to work on the paper without needing to be tech wizards. Anyone who can use a word processor program can use the Gazette’s publishing system.
Under the Hood
For those of you with a technical bent, a bit about the behind-the-scenes changes:
The “old” Gazette was produced with a cumbersome collection of tools, including various word processing, FTP and web authoring programs. Each article was a separate HTML file, built inside a Dreamweaver template. Files were stored in folders by year and category.
Now, using WordPress as our publishing platform, we are working in a database environment. WordPress started out as a blogging system, but thanks to an army of dedicated code geniuses around the globe, it now functions quite well as a full-fledged content management system (CMS). Many other news sites use WordPress, including CNN and the New York Times.
WordPress is just the “engine” in the background. What you see in your browser is called a “theme,” which means the visual layout and design of the site. After much research and months of trial and error, we chose the Atahualpa theme, written by a talented young man from Germany. Atahualpa, by the way, was the last King of the Incas, executed by the Spanish in 1532.
What Do You Think?
Change is hard, but we hope you’ll quickly find your way around the site and start to appreciate the new features. We’d love to hear what you think about the new Gazette. Email us, or leave a public comment a bit farther down the page. You might also want to subscribe to our email or RSS feeds. Click on the icons in the right sidebar. And thank you for being a Gazette reader!