Tribune website gets upgrade

Published 3:35 pm Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Starting at around 5 p.m. today, the Albert Lea Tribune’s website will have a new look.

People who go to will see all of the same categories like news, sports, opinion, obituaries and all the others. The point of the new website is to make it easier for staff and customers to use.

As always, customers should call or e-mail comments or suggestions while the Tribune transitions to the new website. Over the next few weeks all older, archived news stories will be online — though they will not have any photos.

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“We hope that everyone takes the time to look at the site,” Tribune Publisher Scott Schmeltzer said.

He said he also hopes customers are patient and open-minded while exploring the new site, which will have new features. Among the new features are a calendar of local events as well as new kinds of advertisements.

One of the biggest changes will be to require verifiable full names for users who wish to comment on stories. Customers wishing to register will find a link at the top left of the Tribune website. The link will lead them to make a username, submit their first and last name, as well as a phone number and e-mail. They will then be contacted by a Tribune staff member and given approval for commenting.

As a newspaper, the Tribune wishes to set the bar higher for online discussion.

“We decided with the new site to hold online comments to the same standard as our newspaper does when recognizing letters to the editor,” Schmeltzer said.

The change is company-wide with the Tribune’s owner Boone Newspapers of Alabama. This means the Austin Daily Herald will have a similar website on Thursday evening. Web designer Marlin Caddell helped the Tribune staff learn the new website. The Tribune will now use a Word Press content management website.

“It’s a better system for the paper,” Caddell said. “It’s an easier platform to upload content and photos to.”

He said if the uploading process is easier for staff that it will free up time to do other things for the website or for other tasks.