Northwest Citizen has a Front PagePermalink +
Fri, Jan 29, 2010, 3:42 am // John Servais
Two years ago, Jan 2008, this website changed from hand coded pages into a database driven one. In one move we added several writers and enabled commenting by anyone who wanted to (so long as they used their real name.) I had an idea how the site should develop, but wanted to do it in careful stages. Start simple and see what was needed next.
Back in 1995, I started this site as a method for bringing local political and planning issues to public notice. Issues the Bellingham Herald covered up or ignored. At the time, I thought others would soon also have websites that reached out to anyone with an Internet connection - maybe 20% of the people back then. It was 4 more years before the word "blog" was coined. It was about 8 years before anyone else started a similar site in this area.
To me, in 1995, a reverse chronological page of personal observations seemed like an obvious way to do this - and the Internet seemed an obvious way for us to all communicate more. Back in those days, Tip Johnson helped me with guest articles and - as importantly - was a person I could discuss ideas with on how to use the Internet. We used NwCitizen to good result from 1997 to 2000 in stopping Western Washington University from expanding into 17 city blocks of the Happy Valley neighborhood. Tip suggested Western look to the waterfront. They laughed at him. My, my - how time does reveal things.
Well, two years after moving to a database, we have tonight installed a front page. The purpose is to help readers learn more about current issues. The Issue boxes can give 30 words about an issue and list a half dozen articles worth reading. You see, sometimes an article written 6 months ago is still relevant and informative. With print publications, these get lost because we recycle the newspaper. Sadly the online version of many newspapers hide articles behind a firewall after a week and charge good money to see them. Seems very dumb to me because the expense of keeping old articles online is pennies.
Also, we will now feature a lead story in a large box at the page top. This allows us to make sure you don't miss some outstanding article by one of our citizen journalists. I thank Tip for insisting over the past few months a front page was the next needed step.
On the left side is the beginning of an index to columnists. For the past few months, Ham Hayes has been writing a Wednesday morning column. I will be starting one every Monday morning. Eventually, we hope to add more columnists for other days. And Deb Gaber will edit all our columns and articles, as she has for months now, making us all look like better writers than we are. But these new design elements will take a couple weeks for us to get used to and using correctly. Right now their contents are a bit rough. Give us some time.
I want to thank John Meloy, our programmer, for coding the site two years ago and for today's front page. He is an outstanding local web designer and he contributed some of his time and reduced his rate for this work as a contribution to our community discussion.
I hope these format changes will lead to a better website. We are still inventing how we communicate online. I had a correct vision 15 years ago - and I have a vision now. Time will tell if the new vision works.
Fri, Jan 29, 2010, 3:42 am // John ServaisNwCitizen adds new design elements to its home page. The publisher explains what and why.
1 comments; last on Jan 30, 2010
Wed, Jan 27, 2010, 6:59 am // Ham HayesIssues are no longer relevant when secrecy is the name of the game.
1 comments; last on Jan 27, 2010
Sat, Jan 23, 2010, 8:15 pm // Tip JohnsonThe Lummi Nation appears prepared to implement a threatened blockade of Lummi Island commencing February 14th
1 comments; last on Jan 24, 2010
Wed, Jan 20, 2010, 7:00 am // Ham HayesThe earthquake in Haiti is a new reminder that we must also be prepared.
Mon, Jan 18, 2010, 7:00 am // Kamalla Rose KaurProfiles WWU's College of Ethnic Studies and racism during the 60s
2 comments; last on Jan 19, 2010
Sat, Jan 16, 2010, 7:00 am // Craig MayberryContrasts business ethics and political ethics
4 comments; last on Jan 18, 2010
Wed, Jan 13, 2010, 6:59 am // Ham HayesWhat will New York's proposed salt reduction laws do for us?
Mon, Jan 11, 2010, 6:21 pm // John ServaisBellingham council and mayor are working to buy the 80 acres of Chuckanut Ridge development for a bargain price. Washington Federal does not want the land.
1 comments; last on Jan 12, 2010
Sun, Jan 10, 2010, 7:00 am // Kamalla Rose KaurLocal concert celebrates Pete Seeger's 90th birthday--and the efforts of one man to see him awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
2 comments; last on Jan 12, 2010
Fri, Jan 08, 2010, 9:02 pm // John ServaisFate of proposed Chuckanut Ridge development continues to be a concern.
2 comments; last on Jan 09, 2010
Wed, Jan 06, 2010, 6:59 am // Ham HayesThe screening of several million airline passengers a day is a huge task--and not being very well done.
2 comments; last on Jan 09, 2010
Tue, Jan 05, 2010, 1:17 am // Tip JohnsonPort of Bellingham in the news
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