'Chronicle' to launch new online home

Moving from one place to another is both exhilarating and painful. You get excited about your new home, the fresh feel and the chance to do things a little differently. However, you know the actual move is stressful; something always breaks, and it takes a while to make it feel like home. Organizing the attic and garage are dreaded chores. This is when you say, "I'll never move again."

 

It's moving day Wednesday for augustachronicle.com. We have redesigned the site and will launch on a new software platform. We will offer more interactive and news features. You will find:

- Registered users can start a profile page, choose to follow favorite users, start a blog and post photos.

- More of the news sections will change throughout the day, especially Sports.

- Production and presentation of news photos and photo galleries are increasing.

- The beginnings of a special area called Topic pages. These are news coverage collections and links we will expand in the coming year. More staff blogs on topics of interest will be launched.

- Reporter archive pages will allow you to follow stories from an individual writer.

- Mobile news: Smartphone-friendly format of the news is automated. (A few phones might require using the default "m.augustachronicle.com" address to view.) No "app" required.

- More assertive moderation of story comments is being engaged. (See Jan. 20 Over The Transom blog post at http://blogs.augusta.com/node/4042.)

These new developments should broaden the site experience but are not the biggest reason for the change. The new software platform will enable innovation and encourage collaboration. It allows the whole newsroom to participate in producing and editing the site, which are tasks a small group performs now.

We kicked off increases in local news coverage noted in a Jan. 3 column and are making big moves in social media with Twitter and Facebook. Social Media Editor Sarah Day Owen will help the newsroom quadruple its efforts in this digital space. Our Masters Twitter accounts surged last year, and we expect them to expand in 2010.

We have several more changes in store this year. Sean Moores is the newsroom customer service director, a new position. He is a reader advocate, a reader contact and a connection for the community. Contact him at sean.moores@augustachronicle.com or call (706) 823-3448. He'll take your news tips, help online users and get news-related questions answered. He'll help lead comment moderation along with Owen. We expect him to launch an interactive feature online and in print soon.

So, truckloads of data from 13 years online are packed, and we are getting ready to move. The address is the same, but the house is getting a makeover from top to bottom. As we move into our new home, please excuse the boxes and the marks on the walls. A team is busy getting all the furniture in place and will be patching things up quickly.

Reach Alan English at (706) 823-3487 or alan.english@augustachronicle.com.