Keeping up with The Times

This week marks an exciting time for our news team, so pardon us as we stick out our chests a little and brag about what’s to come.

In the coming days, we are proudly unveiling our new website template – a move we think will allow us to better keep up with where things are headed in the highly competitive newspaper industry.

The URL to access our content will be the same. We will still be able to be found at But what you’ll see once you get there will be completely different. Our new site will feature a sleek new look that is compatible with all devices – even cell phones. This move is to make life easier for you, the valued reader, because statistics show a huge portion of our website viewership comes from cell phones, iPads and/or tablets.

Once the site is launched, we have big plans to tweak our web-related coverage, and we hope some of the things we have planned will enhance your experience with us, the community’s only locally owned newspaper.

A lot of these things we’re already doing right now, but it’s just hard to notice because we don’t have the platform to properly feature these things so that they may be fully appreciated.

But now, that will change, and it will be a win/win situation for everyone involved.

One thing we’ve started doing lately is we’re now adding some video to the feature pieces our news team produces.

This isn’t possible in every story, of course, but we hope to add motion to some of our pieces to literally bring the scene to our readers in short, easy to view snippets.

Speaking of that, our new site will be very photo-friendly, as well. Inside of every story, readers will easily be able to notice that pictures will be more prominently displayed, and they will be featured in larger, more dominant photo boxes.

Pictures are worth 1,000 words, and we plan to take full advantage of that in each of our stories.

But still yet, we need your help to all of this possible.

We want to have an active relationship with our readership audience, because you guys know vital things about the community that are newsworthy and are worth reporting.

If you have something that you think is a news story, please don’t ever hesitate to contact our news desk. We aren’t available 24/7 in the office, but we are available 24/7 online.

Senior Staff Writer John DeSantis can be reached at Likewise, government and education reporter Karl Gommel is always available at

We cannot guarantee that every suggestion or submission will find its way into our pages. But we do know that several of our most popular stories from the past several years in this paper were formed by the public expressing concern about a particular topic, which drew our attention to the event and got the wheels rolling toward an eventual story.

Likewise, public help is always needed in our sports section where Managing Editor Casey Gisclair is always busy trying to find fresh feature stories to detail the wonderful things our student-athletes are doing on their respective playing fields.

Casey also selects our weekly Player of the Week, sponsored by Gulf Coast Orthopedics, which details (in print and video form) the wonderful things young people are doing through the world of sports.

Every, single player of the week is chosen through e-mail submissions, so if you want to make sure your community or school is represented in our pages, send a nomination to

And, of course, if you have an event, concert, festival or some other entertainment-related interest, our newsroom also partners daily with our wonderful colleagues Mary Ditch and Melissa Duet with sister publications the Gumbo Entertainment Guide and Point of Vue Magazine.

Melissa can be reached at Mary is available at

Sorry for the bragging, but big things are coming, and we want you guys to enjoy it more than anyone.

But we need your help.

Never be afraid to give us a story idea, video idea or anything else you believe the community needs to know.

Your opinion matters. It always will. •