Same address, new home.
The Chronicle-Independent’s website began sporting a new look today at noon. In addition to a new look, the new C-I website comes with new features that can be accessed from any internet-capable device -- desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
“That’s due to ‘scalability,’” C-I Senior Writer Martin L. Cahn, who serves as the site’s content manager, explained. “The website has been designed to automatically reconfigure itself to any size screen, all the way down to a mobile browser. You can even see how this works on your desktop or laptop, by resizing the browser window -- the website will change as you shrink or expand the window.”
To celebrate the “renovation,” the C-I is providing free access to the entire website through Feb. 1. Various subscription packages are available to purchase directly through the website (see end of story for details).
One of the next things most visitors will notice is what’s known as “continuous scrolling.” Cahn said that makes the website act the way many social media sites, like Facebook, do.
“On our home page, for example, as you keep scrolling down the page, more blocks of stories will show up for you to choose from to read. Even more in line with this concept, when you get to the end of a story you choose to read, another story will appear directly below. When you’re done with that story, another one will appear, and so on,” Cahn said.
Many people who use social media sites like seeing the latest news, whether it be from family and friends, or from trusted media sources. In that vein, the new C-I website treats most stories in all categories -- news, sports, opinion, lifestyle -- equally on a “most recent” basis.
“All that means is that the most recent stories we’ve posted will appear at or near the top of the homepage, or on their respective section pages, regardless of category. So, you might see links to sports stories and opinion columns mixed in with links to news articles,” Cahn said. “As new stories get added, older stories will be pushed further down. We won’t have an archive, per se, but you can search for older stories on the right-hand side of our red main menu bar from anywhere on the site.”
Each story page contains “buttons,” near the top, to share the article via Facebook, Twitter or email.
If you’re looking for particular types of stories -- the latest stories in education, for example -- navigation is easy. There are two menu bars at the top of every page. The top one is blue and includes the newspaper’s name, “Chronicle-Independent” that serves as a link back to the home page, as well as other links to the C-I’s new About Us/Contact Page, Classifieds, a Log In screen, subscriber’s Account page and a Subscribe button.
Below that is the red, main menu bar, with links to the C-I’s News, Viewpoint, Sports, People & Places and Obituaries sections, as well as a link for subscribers to read an online “print” e-edition of the newspaper.
Hovering over one of the menu items will open up a panel that provides links to the five latest stories from that category, and links to subcategories, such as “Camden” under “News.”
“I think this will be very helpful to folks who are looking for, say, the most recent sports story or the latest column one of us has written,” Cahn said.
One of the things Cahn and the rest of the staff are excited about is the ability to finally bring videos to the C-I’s website.
“It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time, but didn’t have the capability until this new website was developed,” Cahn said. “Our first example is this past Friday’s story about a man who allegedly threw a cup of coffee at a McDonald’s employee in town. The Camden Police Department supplied us with security video and we’ve included it with the story. We can’t wait to try some new things by taking video with our smartphones and including them with our stories about Kershaw County.”
The new website also provides a better chance to connect with and learn more about the people who work at the C-I. Each story or column written by Cahn, Editor Jim Tatum or Sports Editor Tom Didato will have a small picture of them with their byline.
“Clicking on the picture will take visitors to a page with a short biography about them and links to, well, everything they’ve written since our old website went live in 2010,” Cahn said.
In addition, going to the C-I’s new About Us/Contact Us page provides not only the C-I’s basic contact information -- address, fax and phone number -- but contact and other information about each staff member. At the very bottom of the page are links to redesigned submission forms for Birth Announcements, Church News, Engagement Announcements, Wedding Announcements and the What’s Up calendar of events.
“We are urging everyone to use these forms to submit these announcements,” Cahn said. “They are set up so that you can provide us with everything you want us to know about the birth of your baby, your wedding or your church or organization’s upcoming event. When you submit a form, the information is emailed directly to the person responsible for putting it in the newspaper.”
Finally, for subscribers, the C-I has partnered with Tecnavia to create a new e-edition of the printed newspaper. When they click “Read Newspaper” on the red main menu bar, visitors will be taken to a separate site that hosts the e-edition. A full-size rendering of the latest issue’s front page will appear on the left and a table of contents on the right.
Navigation works two ways. There are back and forward buttons to either side of the “paper,” allowing visitors to “flip through” the newspaper similarly to what they would do at home. They can also click on items in the right-hand navigation pane.
The “magic” happens, Cahn said, when visitors mouse over stories, pictures and even advertisements on any page of the “paper” on the left-hand side.
“When you hover over something on the page, it becomes highlighted. Click on the item and it will appear in a readable format -- any photos included -- on the right-hand side. From there, you can either click on different items on the newspaper’s “pages,” or use left- and right-hand navigation buttons at the top of the right-hand panel,” Cahn said.
That’s not the only way to “read” the paper online, he said.
“On the extreme right-hand side, there’s a vertical menu that allows you to choose to ‘Browse’ the paper, either at full size or zoomed in,” Cahn said. “You can also click a ‘Pages’ button that will show all of the pages of that edition and you can select a page to view. Clicking ‘Editions’ will show the past editions of the paper we’ve been able to upload as we began working on this project -- they go back to Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, at this point -- clicking on an edition will let you read that past issue.”
Cahn said the e-editions can even be searched by keyword and other filters. He also said that when visitors view the e-edition in the “Pages” view, there are options to download individual pages or the entire paper as PDF files.
“I think of all this as ‘C-I Online 2.0’ -- there’s so much more to the website than there’s ever been and yet it’s easy to get around. I hope everyone takes advantage of our two weeks of free access. Hopefully, they’ll like what they see and sign up for a print and online combo or online-only subscription,” Cahn said.
Print+Digital combo and Digital-Only subscriptions are available by clicking “Subscribe” at the far upper right of any C-I website screen. Those using mobile devices should click the menu button (three stacked lines next to “Chronicle-Independent”) at the top of the screen -- a fly-out menu will appear and the “Subscribe” button is set vertically on the left-hand red menu bar.
Print+Digital and Digital-Only options are available, including three-, six - and 12-month Print+Digital and Digital-Only subscriptions, as well as a one-month Digital-Only subscription. Except for the one-month offer, subscription prices are based on whether the subscriber lives in South Carolina or out of state. The C-I also offers senior citizens discounts for each package with the exception of the one-month choice. Also, each subscription package offers access to the C-I’s e-edition at no additional cost.
For questions or additional information about the C-I’s various subscription options, call Carol Smith at (803) 432-6157 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.