The Chronicle's customer service and information blog

Drupal-based system lets us respond quickly

The unveiling of our new Web site has brought many changes to AugustaChronicle.com. Though some are visible , others are behind the scenes and deal more with improving online news delivery.

As we contemplated the move towards a more Web-based delivery system, the greatest problem we faced was the need for a large online department proficient in HTML code to place content onto the Web site.

If our new online focus was to work, we needed to load breaking news quickly and update throughout the day as situations changed.

In an effort to use resources more efficiently, we scrapped the old HTML -based W eb site in favor of one that allowed content to be added by users with little or no computer- programming knowledge.

AugustaChronicle.com now uses a Drupal-based content management system that allows editors, reporters and visual journalists to upload content directly to our site . This gives us the ability to post breaking news from the field via laptop and update stories quickly.

Drupal is an open-source system for creating and managing Web sites. Open source software such as Firefox and Linux allows the computer code to be manipulated to suit individual needs.

A software designer will get the ball rolling by creating a program and then give other programmers throughout the world permission to change and improve the program to suit their needs. This program is then changed and improved by still other programmers, creating an infinitely customizable and adaptable program.

Our change to a Drupal-based Web page let us move most of our online department into other positions in the newsroom.

The streamlined online department no longer has to manually upload content to our site; the department can focus on customizing existing software to make it more user-friendly and better deliver the news.

As we continue to customize this software, we will add new features in coming months.

Some features from our old site that were not part of the new platform will be brought back, along with new features to enhance the overall experience .

In the spirit of open-source programming, our Web site will continue to be a work in progress.

We will listen to your feedback and be as accommodating as possible.

Let us know what you think.

 

 

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KingJames
10
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KingJames 02/26/10 - 06:26 pm
0
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The title of this blog makes

The title of this blog makes it sound like a Drupal-based systems is being used by firefighters, EMTs and other first responders. Please change it. I actually thought I was going to read about some new technology or process at one of the hospitals. I was surprised to find the blog was really about the AC's website.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 02/26/10 - 08:07 pm
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0
Being familiar with Sean

Being familiar with Sean Moore's bailiwick as Customer Service Director, I had no problem ciphering the headline. Perhaps the word "respond" could be replaced by the words "publish online" in the headline. I for one really appreciate the insight into how software is being adopted by and adapted to this evolving online newspaper.

Online publishing is definitely the future. In that vein, I suggest The Chronicle take the next "open source" step and consider the possibility of using laymen reporters in this interactive medium.

The Chronicle's future lies not only in it being an online distributor of news, but also a portal to the world wide web. There are truly no limits to the kinds of information, including educational and instructional materials, that can be incorporated into this interactive, participatory medium.

The Chronicle can reinvent itself into an indispensable learning tool as well as a trusted source of news and information. Thanks again for the insight, Sean. I do not recall any employee of The Chronicle engaging online readers, being open, honest, transparent, and making us a part of the process as you have. Great job!

Sean Moores
387
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Sean Moores 02/26/10 - 09:42 pm
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KingJames, This is my column

KingJames, This is my column that will run in Sunday's paper. For my blog I pick the headline, but to make sure everyone knows what this is for my column I have to use the same headline the editor uses in the paper. Sorry if it's confusing.

Sean Moores
387
Points
Sean Moores 02/26/10 - 10:02 pm
0
0
Thanks JHRC, Our parent

Thanks JHRC, Our parent company Morris Communications is making a true commitment to explore the avenues opened by the internet. You have summed up the direction we are taking as a company better than I can. The Augusta Chronicle will be adding more interactive features in the future as well as making more of our vast archive of information available to our online readership. One of our sister papers, Bluffton Today, pioneered citizen journalism several years ago. It was a bold experiment that gave us valuable information we have used throughout our chain as we switched to a more web-friendly format.
These are exciting times.

trouble706isBack
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trouble706isBack 02/26/10 - 11:53 pm
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Being a web developer

Being a web developer specializing in the development of Joomla (another open source Content Management System) I can definitely appreciate the work that went into the new site. Though I specialize in Joomla, I have used Drupal and think it is a very good CMS. You have really done a good job in developing the framework to be so user-friendly.

Connor Threlkeld
758
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Connor Threlkeld 02/26/10 - 11:59 pm
0
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I worked with Drupal for a

I worked with Drupal for a few months when we launched our old Drupal-based blogs system a few years ago. I discovered Joomla about a year later and have been using it for my own projects ever since. They're both great systems.

Petey Aitchess
0
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Petey Aitchess 02/27/10 - 12:04 am
0
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Just for the sake of

Just for the sake of comparing, take a look at www.scanaugusta.net which is a non-commercial privately developed and hosted site that kicks the bejesus out of the AC for content, reliability and timeliness. No, it is not my site and I did not write his code. I am merely a happy "customer".

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 02/27/10 - 09:14 am
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I took at look at Scan

I took at look at Scan Augusta, and it's not my cup of tea as far as content goes. I can't speak for the software they use. What galled me about local TV news for years was its "if it bleeds it leads" mentality. That was before I quit watching TV entirely. I much prefer interactive news media. I do realize that local stories are very important to most readers. It is my understanding that small town weeklies have fared better than daily newspapers in larger cities.

When The Chronicle deleted the content of a previous version of The Forum (for a second time) in 2007, I began using Invision Power Board as my personal electronic bulletin board. There has never been a technical glitch like those that repeatedly afflict The Forum. I do realize that Invision Power Board could be sold and my content deleted. Folks have suggested other free bulletin boards as backups. One is simplemachines.org. Another is proboards.com.

FYI, here is the link to my personal Invision Power (Bulletin) Board that I have titled Augusta Alternative.

http://z15.invisionfree.com/Augusta_Alternative/index.php?act=idx

Little Lamb
46057
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Little Lamb 02/27/10 - 11:59 pm
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I think the Invisionfree

I think the Invisionfree system is way better than the Drupal system as realized here.

trouble706isBack
0
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trouble706isBack 02/28/10 - 01:21 am
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Little Lamb, in saying that,

Little Lamb, in saying that, you are comparing apples to oranges...Invisionfree and Drupal are two entirely different things. While InvisionFree is extremely powerful in what it does, it can't compare to Drupal in the functionality that is needed for a portal such as a newspaper.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 02/28/10 - 02:25 am
0
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Yes, I was referring to the

Yes, I was referring to the frequent glitches affecting The Forum's electronic bulletin board and comparing it to my experience with Invision (FREE) Power Board. It is not suitable for uploading the kinds of files required for an online newspaper. As trouble706isback said, that is comparing apples to oranges.

What no software package can fix is the reactionary mindset of The Augusta Chronicle editorial staff (ACES) and editorial board. That is my only complaint about this newspaper, and it is one that goes back at least to the early 1980s when the editorial staff under the editorship of Phil Kent supported the unconscionable Contra war in Nicaragua.

No amount of facts and civil persuasion ever gets ACES and its ubermensch editorial board & publisher off their reactionary editorial positions. The Augusta Chronicle is the FOX News of print and online yellow journalism when it comes to their editorial department.

Jim Blaylock
10
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Jim Blaylock 03/01/10 - 04:30 pm
0
0
Sean, allow me to go off

Sean, allow me to go off topic for a personal note. As an employee in the Chronicle's Columbia County bureau I am in the habit of looking over the paper and web site pretty carefully and your blog has become one of the first items I look for each day. I've worked with you for 15 years and had no idea you were such a talented writer in addition to your other skills.

Connor Threlkeld
758
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Connor Threlkeld 03/01/10 - 08:50 pm
0
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The customization features

The customization features and layout of ScanAugusta.net are pretty nice, but if you are impressed with ScanAugusta's ability to steal content from area and regional news organizations and put it on their website, then yes, they are great. Great at breaking the law.

When I look closer, they're not even great at that. They only have about four Chronicle stories in the last week.

They were legit when their content involved their specialty, which is putting scanners online. But when you steal the work other news organizations pay people to produce, you're crossing the line.

You can use RSS to post links to recent content on other websites, but you cannot simply copy and paste news from other news organizations.

They're even copying the part where the article says you cannot copy the work of the news organization. An example from their current featured article:

"Copyright 2010 4029tv.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed."

He says on his site that he does not write the articles, that he wants to provide a service to area residents. But it's kind of like stealing Cokes from a store and giving them away. It's nice for the recipients, but it's still stealing, whether it's a physical item or intellectual property.

tgentry
231
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tgentry 03/02/10 - 12:30 pm
0
0
Well I must say this is

Well I must say this is interesting. Here I am a little website that has only received 3,166 visits since February 15 to today. This is no where close to what the Augusta Chronicle averages. I'm quite offended at the remark that I'm breaking the law. I would imagine that the Augusta Chronicle is so Law Abiding them selves that the Articles they post from the Atlanta Journal and other news agencies are somehow not the same. Oh wait I see, if you just take a snippet of the article instead of the whole article and change a few words around then it must be ok.

Listen I'm not on here to fight with the Augusta Chronicle. At least on my site I do put the sources down. Have you ever looked at the other sites? http://www.PoliceOne.com. Well they post the articles as I do. They have a huge following with ad paid support. What about http://www.officer.com same thing. This is the same for almost all websites that provide news. Now I do not know if because you are a news media outlet if that gives you some kind of right to use each others news posting or not. I'm just a single person trying to do what I like and share it with others. As for the post from the chronicle it would seem the RSS feeds have been changed a little. I checked my site for Augusta Chronicle posts and I have over 15 pages with at least 5 articles per page. Now is this stealing from the Chronicle? I'm no lawyer and I may not be able to write articles to well but how is it stealing when there is no fee involved? I mean if I were stealing content that you had to register to read or pay subscribe then yes I would say I was stealing.

In all if I'm in the wrong then I will correct the site. I just find it amazing that one comment that praised a little site that has no major funding and one person running it has got this response from a chronicle editor such as yourself.

tgentry
231
Points
tgentry 03/02/10 - 12:31 pm
0
0
Well I must say this is

Well I must say this is interesting. Here I am a little website that has only received 3,166 visits since February 15 to today. This is no where close to what the Augusta Chronicle averages. I'm quite offended at the remark that I'm breaking the law. I would imagine that the Augusta Chronicle is so Law Abiding them selves that the Articles they post from the Atlanta Journal and other news agencies are somehow not the same. Oh wait I see, if you just take a snippet of the article instead of the whole article and change a few words around then it must be ok.

Listen I'm not on here to fight with the Augusta Chronicle. At least on my site I do put the sources down. Have you ever looked at the other sites? http://www.PoliceOne.com. Well they post the articles as I do. They have a huge following with ad paid support. What about http://www.officer.com same thing. This is the same for almost all websites that provide news. Now I do not know if because you are a news media outlet if that gives you some kind of right to use each others news posting or not. I'm just a single person trying to do what I like and share it with others. As for the post from the chronicle it would seem the RSS feeds have been changed a little. I checked my site for Augusta Chronicle posts and I have over 15 pages with at least 5 articles per page. Now is this stealing from the Chronicle? I'm no lawyer and I may not be able to write articles to well but how is it stealing when there is no fee involved? I mean if I were stealing content that you had to register to read or pay subscribe then yes I would say I was stealing.

In all if I'm in the wrong then I will correct the site. I just find it amazing that one comment that praised a little site that has no major funding and one person running it has got this response from a chronicle editor such as yourself.

tgentry
231
Points
tgentry 03/02/10 - 03:21 pm
0
0
After doing some research it

After doing some research it would appear you are absolutely correct Connor. I will change the website this evening. I apologize to you and the Chronicle for illegally re posting your material. I must also apologize to every other website that I copied from. I did not knowingly intend to break the law. I will from now on look into things a little deeper before going ahead with a idea. To anyone else who may be copying articles be aware of what the sites rules are.

Sean Moores
387
Points
Sean Moores 03/02/10 - 04:20 pm
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0
Thank you tgentry

Thank you tgentry

Sean Moores
387
Points
Sean Moores 03/18/10 - 02:34 pm
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0
Jim, I'm sorry I didn't

Jim, I'm sorry I didn't respond to this. I had too many threads going and I missed it. Thank you very much for the kind words. I like writing these columns and blogs. Trying to write with the newsroom bustle going on in back of me is taking a little getting used to though. Has it been 15 years already?

Chillen
17
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Chillen 04/22/10 - 04:01 pm
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0
A few of friendly

A few of friendly suggestions.

1. It would be great if we could see our previous comments. Sometime we post something so profound that we'd like to go back and reference it.
2. When you click on someone's comment from their profile it takes youto the beginning of the article. it would be nice if it would "drop" you on the page that the comment was made on - keeping you from fumbling through sometimes 6, 7 or 8 pages of comments looking for something
3. Some sites have a thumbs up & thumbs down button on each post made. Those are really very fun to use - you can comment on someone's comment without having to actually comment. (does that "comment" make sense? ha-ha). You can only leave one thumbs up or one thumbs down per post.

Otherwise, love the site. Love the moderating - keeps folks civil - some places are not so nice & are often quite vile.

Sean Moores
387
Points
Sean Moores 04/22/10 - 05:09 pm
0
0
Chillen, I am in favor of all

Chillen, I am in favor of all three of your suggestions. I hope the first two will be included in our update later this year. I've given my pitch; we'll see if the powers that be can pull it off. As for your third suggestion, we have discussed several user rating tools. I don't know if they will make the first update or which we can make work, but some form of user voting will be included eventually.
Good suggestions all. Thanks

Little Lamb
46057
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Little Lamb 05/12/10 - 01:28 pm
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0
Susan McCord had an

Susan McCord had an interesting story published in today's Chronicle print edition; but I cannot find it on line. Did someone forget to post it here? The story was about Chuck Pardue needing to get 4,500 signatures on a petition in order to run for state senator as an independent.

Sean Moores
387
Points
Sean Moores 05/12/10 - 02:54 pm
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0
Little Lamb, That story was

Little Lamb, That story was inadvertently not posted today. Here is the link. Thanks for letting me know.
http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/government/elections/2010-05-12/pardue...

Little Lamb
46057
Points
Little Lamb 07/28/10 - 02:33 pm
0
0
Something weird happened on

Something weird happened on the online Chronicle today a little before noon. Someone was changing the font-size on the articles' text. First it displayed bigger than usual, then smaller. Now (2:30 p.m.) I see the smaller font-size of an article's text, but the entire article's text disappears after about a half-second. The headings, ads, and even comments are all visible, but I cannot view the articles. There's just a big white space there. Even Nathan Deal's ugly picture appears in his article, but I cannot read what federal probe he is denying.

I know you're going to tell me that I must upgrade my browser, since I'm the last person using I.E. 6. But if someone at the Chronicle changed something a little before noon, can you get them to change it back?

Little Lamb
46057
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Little Lamb 07/29/10 - 04:47 pm
0
0
Everything seems to be back

Everything seems to be back to normal, even on clunky old I.E. 6. Thanks.

Little Lamb
46057
Points
Little Lamb 09/27/10 - 08:03 am
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0
Here's another question for

Here's another question for Sean. On Saturday (Sept. 25) the Chronicle servers were down for a fairly long time. When they came back, I noticed that a nifty feature on the "Disscussion" page was gone. When you clicked "Disscussion," you used to get an option at the bottom of the page to click "Older Comments" or "Newer Comments." Now those options are gone. Was this intentional or accidental?

Little Lamb
46057
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Little Lamb 03/01/11 - 09:19 am
0
0
I certainly understand why

I certainly understand why the sheriff does not want to publicize unsolved murder cases. But the double homicide late last November of the two "teen-age" young women grew cold very quickly. The sheriff at first said they had a person of interest they wanted to talk to, and then the story dropped off the radar. It would be good for the Chronicle to send a reporter back to the sheriff's office for an update and comment. Here are some links to the stories in the Chronicle.

Article 1

Article 2

Article 3

Sean Moores
387
Points
Sean Moores 03/02/11 - 09:36 am
0
0
Little Lamb, I will forward

Little Lamb, I will forward your suggestion. Normally we do follow-up stories when something happens in a particular case - new lead, arraignment, sentencing, etc. If there are no new developments, this case will certainly be included in the unsolved-murder stories we run once or twice a year.

Little Lamb
46057
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Little Lamb 05/28/11 - 10:12 am
0
0
Maybe this has been addressed

Maybe this has been addressed earlier and I missed it, but I surely do miss the Discussion feature that used to be on the top menu. You could read reader comments without going back to the original article over and over. Is the Discussion feature gone for cause or is there just another way to navigate to it?

seenitB4
87395
Points
seenitB4 05/28/11 - 10:26 am
0
0
Littlelamb.......Go through

Littlelamb.......Go through the opinion button.....but I agree with you.....too many clicks----bring it back please.

seenitB4
87395
Points
seenitB4 05/28/11 - 10:26 am
0
0
Littlelamb.......Go through

Littlelamb.......Go through the opinion button.....but I agree with you.....too many clicks----bring it back please.

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