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New website coming for the Rutland Herald

Rutland Herald | January 11, 2017


Changes to the websites of the Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times- Argus are almost here and seeing what they have to offer will be free.

On Thursday, online readers of both papers should see the results of months of behind-the-scenes work designed to make the newspapers more attractive and reflect the way readers expect their news to be delivered.

Rob Mitchell, editor-in-chief of the Herald and Times-Argus, said the website will be easy to read for people who prefer to look at the newspapers using a smartphone or other mobile device.

“The number one thing is the main Rutland Herald and Times-Argus websites will be mobile-friendly,” Mitchell said. “When you look at it on your phone, there won’t be any more pinching and squinting and zooming to see the text. It will automatically bring you the stories and photos optimized for your phone.”

One advantage of the new website is it will be more flexible, which will allow reporters to get stories out to readers more quickly. The goal is to get news out to readers more often than the daily newspaper schedule allows, Mitchell said, and readers might want to check the website more frequently than every morning to get breaking news.

Mitchell said some things would remain the same. The web address is not changing and readers who subscribe to the newspaper for delivery to their homes will still have access to the e- edition of the paper included with their subscription.

Readers will still be able to read an online version of the Herald and Times- Argus on their computer, but Mitchell said the company is using a new platform for the e-editions which is more stable than the current platform and better for subscribers.

The newspapers’ websites will be using WordPress, which is used by news outlets like the New York Times, CNN and Reuters.

“It will give us a lot more flexibility to meet the needs of a modern newsroom. It’s essentially step one toward bringing the sites into the modern world,” he said.

One immediate change will be a temporary removal of the paywall for both websites so readers can check out the content. Mitchell said the paywall will be down for about a month to “let people take a test drive and refamiliarize themselves with the Rutland Herald and Times-Argus online.”

Even after the paywall is up again, readers will be able to read a few stories a month before they are required to pay for access to further content. Some content will be added to the website. Readers will now be able to read the comics and look at the crossword through the website.

The newspapers are also planning to allow reader comments on the stories. Anonymous comments will not be allowed, but once a reader submits registration information and receives approval, comments will be posted.

Mitchell said those remarks will be monitored to ensure that they comply with the standards of the news organization, meaning that obscene, threatening, racist or vulgar language will not be allowed. Comments may be reviewed directly by those running the website or because they are reported by other readers. However, readers should be aware that those posting may have strong views which may not reflect the views of the newspapers or staff.

The archives for the newspapers are also being switched over to the new platform. Mitchell said that process may take some time to complete because “it’s a lot of data.”

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Performed May 12, 2018 by Keane Southard at the First Congregational Church of Springfield, VT
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