Introducing the new

Brent Finnegan -- April 13th, 2010

The new layout you’re looking at has been a long time coming. We’ve been asking for your feedback since we began in 2006, and organizing into a more sustainable business. We did our best to incorporate your suggestions into the new

To start, we’re adding “nested” or threaded comments, so you can comment on other comments. We intend to add other features as we go, but will introduce them gradually, over the next few months. All ideas and feedback welcome. Special thanks to Renee at Neosentials for her many hours of work on this.

But this change is much bigger than a new website.

For almost four years, we’ve been growing as an online community — we’ve broken stories, helped to educate voters, fostered discussions, and filled the gaps in local news coverage. But we’ve never had any revenue, which puts serious limitations on what we can do.

Last year, we reached the point where we are ready to take it to the next level. We looked into various business models, such as non-profits, and collectives. Ultimately, we settled on multi-owner LLC with a stronger editorial and management team. That team is:

Brent Finnegan
Alex Sirney
Jeremy Aldrich
Lindsay Aldrich
Deb Stevens Fitzgerald
Jeremiah Knupp
Holly Marcus

While we are still volunteering our time and talents, this reorganization will allow us to better serve our community’s needs. Soon we will be adding underwriters and accepting donations in order to pay for basic operating costs, and eventually, to pay journalists for special reports. Everything you love about will still be there, but we will intensify our focus on more original reporting and integrate more reader-generated content.

For more information on underwriting, see our options and special introductory rates.

Thank you all — the readers, commenters, Facebook fans, Flickr photographers, hashtag Twitterers — for making Harrisonburg’s first choice news community. We look forward to continuously improving with your help and involvement.

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24 Responses to “Introducing the new”

  1. Scott Rogers says:

    The site looks great, and the plan sounds great! Keep up the good work, and thanks to each of you for your contributions to keeping our community informed and engaged!

  2. Eric Gregory says:

    Wow, the site looks amazing! Great facelift!

    Are we now competing with the soon-to-be-operational Harrisonburg Times? :)

  3. Shannon says:

    I don’t like that I can’t read entire posts in my Google reader now…can you change that back?

  4. Lowell Fulk says:

    Looking good Brent and Co. You’re doing a great job!

  5. Joey Groah says:

    The aesthetic update is nice and clean, very cool. It’s been fun to watch the evolution of the site, best of luck with the new “official” editorial and managerial direction.

  6. Sarah says:

    I love this site. I’m so glad you guys are around now, because ever since the DNR online went completely pay per view I haven’t been able to read the news!

  7. Justin says:

    Love the mobile version!

    • cook says:

      The second place I look (after new posts) is Recent Comments. Any way to put them on the mobile version?

      • There might be, Cook, but probably not with that particular mobile version. With mobile, there’s really only room for one column, so it might have to go to the bottom of the page.

      • Renee says:

        Me, too, cook. Good observation.

        There may be a way to create a “page” in the mobile version that can display recent comments. Someday when I get a chance, I will look into that.

    • David Miller says:

      Love the mobile version too

  8. Holly says:

    Mazel tov. Looks really great!

  9. cook says:

    I must say I don’t fully understand what articles end up in the scrolling marquee and what articles go straight to the front page. And I don’t like waiting for the marquee to walk through its paces. I am willing to let it grow on me, but I may not be alone in my annoyance with this feature.

    I do like the fresh new look.

    • Lindsay says:

      Thanks, cook and Deb. Cook, does the arrow option Deb suggested solve the issue for you?

      In response to what articles end up where, we are currently tagging certain posts as “Top Stories” and the three most recent Top Stories show up in the Flash marquee. Everything else (with the exception of Announcements and Press Releases) shows up chronologically in the main feed below.

      Hope this helps!

      • cook says:

        I see the arrow and the tab. Just seems strange to me that I need to click or wait to see the top 3 stories. I can see stories #4 and #5 without doing anything.

    • Renee says:

      The Top Stories can also be found in the tabbed box in the right sidebar if you don’t want to wait for the marquee – a little hidden, but a quick one-click way to find them as a list :)

      This also means they’re accessible from any page.

    • Renee says:

      We are temporarily testing out having the featured articles also show up in the chronological list. We’ll keep it if readers like it better this way.

  10. Deb SF says:

    Clicking on the orange arrow in the middle of the vertical bar that borders the far right hand side of the marque allows you to page through the top three stories as quickly as you choose.

  11. Jason says:

    Site looks great, but I think top stories should definitely appear in the main feed, not hidden in the marquee.

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