Beginning next week, readers who check out our Web site at www.morrissuntribune.com will notice a brand new look.
The changes are intended to improve the look of the site and make it easier to access to stories, photographs and other information.
If you'd like to get an idea of what the new site will look like, check out a couple of other Forum Communications Web sites that have already undergone the make-over, such as the Alexandria Echo Press (www.echopress.com) or the West Central Tribune (www.wctrib.com).
You'll notice that the content hasn't changed much but the photos are larger, the stories are easier to browse, and that it's much more convenient to decide which stories are of interest to you.
The new site will also give you more opportunities to interact with other readers. You will have the opportunity to blog and to comment on various stories (and, as often happens, on the comments of others). If you'd like to set up a blog, let us know and we can get you set up. And there's always the Area Voices section, in which you can just log in and write to your heart's content.
There is one down side to the new site: If you are currently a Web reader, you will have to re-register. It's a simple process and doesn't cost anything. But it's not possible to carry over existing registrations to the new format. Sorry about that, but we think the new site will be well worth the few minutes it takes you to register again.
As is the case with all emerging technology, we have been amazed by how much traffic the Sun Tribune's Web site generates. And it's because we've tried to bring readers the kinds of stories and information they want and can use.
We publish papers twice a week, which is more often than communities and newspapers of our size typically do. But even then, there are times when the information that makes it into the paper on Wednesdays and Saturdays isn't as fresh as it could be. That gives us the chance to bring you more comprehensive stories, but not in as timely as fashion as, say, a daily newspaper.
But with the Web site, we can be the community's source of daily news. When there's a major news event, the technology allows us to get it out over the Internet -- and to tip readers about it via email alerts -- just as quickly as the news and photographs can be gathered and processed.
When we learn that two more people have died of the H1N1 virus, we can let you know as soon as the Minnesota Department of Health lets us know. When Morris Area graduate and North Dakota State University star Brett Winkelman signs to play in a professional league in Italy, we can spread the word quickly. And, with our Capitol bureau in St. Paul providing almost hourly updates of important news, you can log in daily to keep abreast of the latest of events that shape our state, our region and our lives.
It's a product of the society we now live in. No longer are the up-to-the-second news stories reserved for short radio sound bites or television video clips. You may have noticed that more of our Web stories include audio and video clips of local happenings. With the new Web site, you'll notice that even more stories will be multi-media postings.
We're having a lot of fun getting used to the new site and the possibilities it opens up. We believe you will, too. And, as always, we welcome your feedback on how it can be made even better.