I’ve watched The Wizard of Oz, like, a million times.
I love the movie. Even read the book.
When Dorothy and her dog Toto, the lion, the scarecrow and the tin man reach Oz they finally meet the wizard. Everyone knows what happens then. At first he seems larger than life and very mystical – a disembodied holographic head floating in the air surrounded by gouts of steam and flame; a huge booming voice that seems to come from everywhere when he talks.
But the adventuresome trio, plus a dog, spy movement behind a curtain. When they pull it back, they find the real wizard. Just an old man tugging on cords … pushing and pulling knobs to make all the effects come to life.
The Internet, to me, is something like that.
On the surface, it is so cool and sometimes spellbinding. But behind it all are just plain men and women tapping away at keyboards and entering miles of boring code to make the magic happen.
I remember when The News Journal started its first Internet web site about a decade ago. It was pretty decent for the time. I was in charge of updating it every week. No easy task.
I was given a program called Dreamwaver, what is often called a “What You See Is What You Get,” or WYSIWYG HTML editor in order to design and change the site. WYSIWYG is complete baloney! Often the results I’d worked so hard to get in Dreamweaver did not end up translating properly when viewed in a web browser. The program was just kind of dumped on me so I had to do my best to figure it out on my own. It would take me the better part of a day to put stories online with some photos. I’d do little web polls and other neat things just to make it interactive. It was kind of fun. I felt like Oz’s old wizard in a way.
After a year or so of our first site, we redesigned a bit with a new site and a much more streamlined system. It survived for a long time … until last year, in fact. We decided then it was time to chart our online course for the future. There is little doubt that the survival of newspapers in today’s world is intertwined with the Internet and other, constantly evolving, digital delivery systems. I don’t think this is a bad thing.
For the last year, our online presence has been through a interim web site that was good. Just this week, we decided to go ahead and unveil our new site. In many ways it is great. It has a lot of problems and we are working night and day to correct them. In a way, I am so excited about the hundreds of emails I’ve been receiving about the new site from readers who have discovered little quirks and errors that need to be fixed. I am far from offended. I like the praise too. It is great that they are so interested and invested in www.thenewsjournal.net that they want it to be the best. I’m right there with you!
Our website gurus were astounded at the amount of traffic a weekly newspaper website can get from online users. Our visits from people everywhere who have pointed their browsers to www.thenewsjournal.net are simply through the roof.
The possibilities for us, through use of the Internet, are limitless. Just this past week we’ve made it a point to provide our readers with updated news online on almost a daily basis. Some of these same stories you will see in the print edition of the News Journal on Wednesdays. Some are content you will only see on www.thenewsjournal.net. We look at the website as kind of a companion to the newspaper. While the physical News Journal provides you with comprehensive news once a week, our online site will fill the gaps with fresh, constantly updated news, opinion and photography. There really is no need to go anywhere else for you local news fix.
We want to make our new site your daily source for local news that is important to you. We want it to be interactive and fun with active message board forums, opportunities to comment on stories (which people are doing already in surprising numbers) and opinion pieces that appear almost daily, video clips, links to important government documents and other information you simply can’t get without a lot of effort.
Our site is live. A little messy, but live.
It’s future is bright.
It might be a bumpy ride for a bit, but we are glad so many of you have decided to join us in our journey.