Online Falcon improvements aim to appeal to readers

January 4, 2010 — by Ren Norris

The popularity of newspapers across the country has been declining, causing newspapers to shut down or transition more operations to the Internet. To keep up with the shift in journalism, the Falcon has been upgrading its own online edition of the newspaper, at saratogafalcon.org.

The website, which the paper has had since 2001, has been undergoing changes to make it easier for students to view recent stories, photos and videos. One of these changes is the addition of a new section called “Spotlight” that features stories that the newspaper staff thinks readers will be most interested in. There is also a new “Feature” section that combines some of the other branches of the newspaper print such as Life, Entertainment, School Scope and In-depth.

“We’re trying to make the website more reader-friendly and visual so that our readers will be more excited about the website,” said senior web editor Brian Kim.

Another change is a new “hover” tool in which a viewer can see what a story is about just by scrolling over a link. The website is also featuring work from SHSTV, the multimedia journalism television program, by establishing a direct connection to that website so students can watch their video right off of the Falcon homepage.

Students on the newspaper staff believe such improvements will help the Falcon stay with the pace of technology, which will make the newspaper more accessible to readers.

“What most school newspapers, or newspapers in general are doing right now is that they’re trying to adapt to the culture of newspapers moving to the Internet,” said Kim. “We already have the aspect of a newspaper on our website, so all we’re trying to do now is make it more reader-friendly and usable for everyone.”

Such website revisions, though fairly minor, started during winter break.

“A year ago, we completely re-did the site, and this is more of an upgrade that I think will improve the usability and make it more attractive in terms of photos,” said adviser Mike Tyler.

The Falcon staff will continue to make improvements to the website in the future.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” said Tyler. “It’s always a work in progress.”

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