Column: We made a change and we’re excited

By Denise DuBois

It was time for a change and this week seemed the perfect time to make it. There is a new year on the horizon and we’ve had some time to make our goals for what we want. I don’t mean personally, but as a news organization. It was time for change and we made it.

For more than 60 years, we’ve been a local institution that reported on the things happening in East Alabama. Our coverage area extends to Phenix City, Russell County and Smiths Station. We’ve been a weekly newspaper since inception and that’s been both a great thing and a struggle.

The great part of being a weekly newspaper is that we get to focus on community-oriented news. There are things we report on that may never be a blip on another outlet’s radar. And that’s okay. That’s what a community newspaper is for. The hard part of being a weekly newspaper is having to decide what news would be considered old by our publication date. That, and not being the first to get to report on an important issue because of our publication and deadline schedules.

Both of those things we’ve been able to overcome all these years and produce a publication that has been well-received by the community. We’re glad for that.

A year or more ago, we decided to begin putting news on our website. That was a good decision because it allowed our readers to share on social media the things going on in our community. The problem we faced, because there are always challenges when you create something new, was that our site wasn’t quite as user-friendly (or builder-friendly) as we wanted it to be. That changed last week.

I had the time and the opportunity to sit down with our graphics designer, Bradley, and share with him exactly what I wanted for our website. I wanted it to be easy to post news. I wanted it to be easy to navigate. And finally, I wanted there to be a place for us to post not just local, but also state and national news stories. We need to stay relevant and give readers a place to find whatever they’re looking for – whether that’s local (what we’ll always specialize in) or broader topics.

It didn’t take two days and we have an easy-to-use and easy-to-update news site that our entire news organization can be proud of. I took a screenshot of what our home page looked like on Tuesday. It’s different today because the stories change on a daily basis. I hope you’ll take a peek at what we’re offering on the web.

Remember that we’ll continue to be the local paper you’ve counted on each week. We just have a little something extra for those of you who enjoy online and social media news, too. We’re thrilled with what’s coming in 2018 for our organization. I hope you are, too.

Speaking of change, what are some things you’re hoping to change in 2018? What are you doing to make those changes stick?

Email me at  ddubois@citizenea.com