LDR launches new website today

From LDR Staff

The Internet got a lot cooler at about 1 p.m. today for news junkies in Laclede County.

Today marks the launch of the new website of the Lebanon Daily Record.

"What we want is for people in Laclede County who get their news over the Internet to have us as their home page," said LDR Editor Julie Turner-Crawford. "When they're drinking their first cup of coffee in the morning and checking the news, we want them to be reading us."

Caleb Clark, the LDR webmaster who has overseen the birth of the newspaper's new online presence, can sum up the differences between the new site and the old one in a single word: "Everything," Clark said today.

The new site offers more than local news, features and sports, Clark said. "You also now have the ability to get all the Associated Press news for the state on the website," Clark said.

As soon as the AP puts out a Missouri news story, its headline appears on the LDR website, the most recent at the top, in the state news box on the front page. Clicking on any headline takes the reader to a page with that story.

The editorial staff also has the rights to AP material from the national, international, business and entertainment wires. The initial plan is to post those on the website only when they have special significance for the LDR's readers, but this is an evolving project, and feedback from the visitors to the site will be critical, Turner-Crawford said. What most of the visitors to the website ask for is what they're going to get if it's at all possible.

The new website offers more ways for readers to interact with it than the former one did. People may upload articles and photos for publication on the site, subject to review by the editors.

One of the features that is sure to be popular is the comments section under each article, according to Turner-Crawford. "People like to comment on the stories they've read, and this will be an immediate way to do that," she said.

To comment, readers must sign in and provide a valid e-mail address. Alternatively, a Facebook subscriber can use that ID to access the comments section.

"One thing that I've been really impressed with while playing around with it is the community calendar," said Clark. "It's actually a calendar now as opposed to just a list of dates. You can pick a day, and to an extent the entries for that day will be broken down by times and into categories," he said.

The calendar will be searchable by keyword, place or date. For example, if someone wants to know when the next chili supper is, a search for "chili" on the calendar page would bring it up.

Readers will have the ability to submit calendar items directly to the website, he said.

The site offers powerful search tools to help readers instantly find what they need. Most articles and photos on the website each have at least five designated keywords.

The new site will have photos, video and audio, in much greater proportions than the former website was able to offer. "In a limited way, we have been incorporating more video into our website this year," said Turner-Crawford. "The new site will allow us to do more of that more efficiently, linking videos to articles and photos.

"The idea is to take advantage of the things we can do online as a news organization - not just as a newspaper. The Internet is a level playing field; we have the same tools at our disposal as CNN or Fox News," she said. "The new website will go a long way to helping us take advantage of that."

The site will be accessed by the same link as the old one, <a title="www.lebanondailyrecord.com" href= "http://www.lebanondailyrecord.com">www.lebanondailyrecord.com</a>. People who may have the old site saved as a favorite place may have to re-save the new site as a favorite, Clark said.

The new website will complement the e-Edition that the LDR launched in April, which will be accessible from the website's home page. To this point, the e-Edition has been provided as a courtesy, but soon access to the e-Edition will be limited to subscribers, Clark said.


<p>Julie Turner-Crawford</p>

Caleb Clark

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The Lebanon Daily Record

100 E. Commercial St.
Lebanon, MO 65536
(417) 532-9131