by BRAD ROLLINS
Nearly four years ago, the San Marcos Mercury set out to change the way San Marcos communicates with itself, to provide a news source as dynamic and engaging as the city is.
In my youthful bluster, I called it a news war, declared with bombast and bravado. The rollicking good ride that followed has taken the Mercury through several stages of improvement and growth.
Our redesign, unveiled today, is the latest iteration of that vision, as we make allies of former competitors and focus our attention on the almost-daily, a dinosaur that has been on the endangered list for decades and which I still continue to think can be taken. As I love pointing out, the Daily Record is owned by Community Newspapers Holdings Inc., which in turn is owned by the beleaguered Alabama Public Employees Pension Fund. To meet its obligation to Alabama pensioners, CNHI is notorious for squeezing every last penny it can from community newspapers and leaving formerly venerable institutions as worthless shells unable to meet a newspaper’s obligation to the community.
The redesign implementation coincides with our merger with San Marcos Local News, itself a robust news outlet with a widespread and committed following. To SMLN enthusiasts, I want to say that the Mercury will continue SMLN’s dedication to providing a community forum for residents to gather and exchange ideas. The name has changed, but commitment to public discourse is a gene both the Mercury and SMLN have always shared — and one that the Mercury will preserve as it continues to gain audience.
As I’ve said before, the challenge for newspapers these days is fitting into the way people live. People are doing a lot of living on Facebook. We were one of the first news organizations that I know of to develop an application, in 2008, to pull our story headlines into reader’s Facebook news feeds. Our new website takes the integration further.
Our new comment system lets people sign in with their comments, providing another option for users seeking the accountability of putting their name to their comments.
The new comment system solves another problem. There often are two parallel discussions going on about any given story at any given time — one discussion on the story on Facebook and another on the Mercury (or SMLN) website. Now, comments made on stories on our Facebook page will be automatically published on the San Marcos Mercury website.
As always, you can like us on Facebook to get our headlines in your news feed.
We seek to tell San Marcos stories on the Mercury. Our new interface makes it easier for readers to share those stories — and their thoughts on them — with people in their lives. Stories on the Mercury can now be easily shared in a variety of ways — by a Facebook wall post, a Facebook private message, Twitter and email.
While the fundamentals of the redesign are in place, I know from experience that the website will continue to evolve as we identify problems and fix them and identify opportunities and take them. Our readers have been invaluable in the past in helping us find our way forward. Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts here or by email.Email | Print