Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
I'm one of those annoying "the glass is half-full" people. In fact, I usually see it three-fourths full. So it's not really a surprise that I would choose this time to jump forward into bigger and better things. I put the Tri-County News on-line even before I owned it. I believe in the freedom of information, and the value of having the newspaper available to everyone on-line. Our current Web site, , has served well these past many years. But it's long overdue for a major overhaul, not just a face lift. And that's just what we're in the middle of. By May 1, we should have a totally new site: tricountynews.MN. (Remember the ".MN" part; there's no ".com" in this one!) The new site, and the new technology that comes with it, will allow us to do a number of things we just can't do today: Community blogs: anyone who wants one can have a blog on our site, for free. Some have already signed up (although they won't be "live" until the whole site goes "live" around May 1). By popular request, classified ads are now on our Web site, and will be even better (and easier to use) on our new site. Videos: you may have seen at various events with a tiny video camera. We'll soon be able to put those videos on our Web site for everyone to see. Daily news updates. Anything that happens after about noon Tuesday has to wait until the next week's newspaper. By then, it's no longer "news." With daily updates and breaking news, we can be closer to a daily paper even though we only print once a week. Lots of "extras." Each week we get dozens of e-mails containing interesting information. Not all of it fits into the newspaper, though. So now, with the new Web site, we'll have a place to put all those "extra" interesting stories that don't quite fit. (For a sampling of what kinds of "extra" stories I'm talking about, you can check out the "EXTRAS" section on our current Web site. These will be even easier to get to on the new site. Everything will have a findable "home" on the new site. Recipes. One of the things our readers have been asking for more of is recipes. We love to make and eat food. Perhaps even more, we love to read recipes. We'll have a place where anyone can submit recipes. And it will all be searchable (by recipe name, by ingredient, or by name of the person who submitted it). And you'll be able to make comments on the recipes, too. Community calendar will be right on the main page, easy to find community events and easy to submit your own. Easy forms to submit things for the newspaper (like engagement notices, ads, or photos). You can sign up to get an e-mail when there's breaking news (like a fire or accident, or a storm watch). There's a separate sign-up for headlines of stories as they're added. We have this ability now, but not many have used it. We plan to use it a lot more on the new site. In reality, there are things that the new Web site will be able to do that even I don't know about yet. As soon as it's ready, I'll let you know. And as I learn how to use it, I'll share that knowledge with you. No, the Internet will never take the place of the Tri-County News in your mailbox. What it does is provide us the space and flexibility to expand on what we can do in the weekly newspaper. This is an exciting time for us. Really exciting. We hope you'll find the new site as useful and exciting as we do! Be sure to let us know what you think. Oh, I totally forgot to mention perhaps the best part: it's all still free to you, our readers!