Starting this week the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune has launched a totally redesigned website with a new look and feel we think our online readers will really appreciate.
Despite a few glitches, some we’re still ironing out, the website www.gazette-tribune.com, went live on Tuesday. Not only will the site feature updated news on a more daily basis, but it also has our online content for the past five years. Imagine my surprise when I went to page 207 of 208 and saw the article on my 20th anniversary with the newspaper. It reminded me that now it’s been 25 years as of the end of last month. Time flies when your having fun.
In addition, there’s links to our Facebook page so be sure to remember to “Like” us on line. And dare I say it, there’s Twitter. I won’t say I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to this feature, but I hadn’t embraced it either. Now I guess I’ll just have to learn how to do the Tweets. There’s also Google Plus and for searches an easy to use search bar right at the top too.
One feature we think will be popular will be the weekly poll. Right now there is a poll asking our readers what their favorite event at the Okanogan County Fair is. Once the results are tallied you’ll be able to see how you match up with other fair goers. If you have a suggestion for a new poll just drop us a line any of several ways – via snail mail (USPS) or by phone or through the easy to use email feature under Contact Us. You’ll also notice there’s a form available for sending me a Letter to the Editor online if you want. When it’s activated (any day now) you’ll also find forms for birth, wedding and engagement announcements, as well as for submitting story ideas, photos, press releases, sports results and a host of other things. In addition, you may place paid display and classified ads, as well as obituaries online.
Another great feature will be the Green Edition, carrying the full content of our printed edition. It will be free for now and maybe a subscription service for those who live outside the area. We haven’t decided exactly how it will be handled in the future. Right now, however, there are past issues of the Whidbey Examiner holding our place for copies of the G-T so you can get a feel for how the Green Editions work. I think you’ll find they make an easy and convenient way to read the newspaper on the go, especially for those who take their laptops and tablets with them.
Overall, I think our new website is much cleaner than the old one and will be even more useful to those who like to get their news online or just want to keep up with their communities. I suggest people take it out for a test drive. Some of the features are still under construction and I’m just learning how to use and update things myself.
So far my favorite part is that we are no longer limited to just two small photos with the articles and that there are better options for photo galleries with slideshows for events like May Festival and Founder’s Day when we always have way more photos than we can fit in the print edition.
We’ll be making updates and changes as we fine tune the website in the next few weeks. We welcome your suggestions and hope that the new www.gazette-tribune becomes an integral part of your online life and an even greater tool for keeping up with your community.