Operation Homepage

In both the winter of 2016 and 2017, around this time, Minot Daily News announced and pursued a number of improvements/changes/upgrades as major goals for the year ahead of us. In retrospect, those things have included adding UND and NDSU sports to the Sport page, adding a number of columnists, increasing local news considerably, launching this column and revising our Arts and now #Living sections to spotlight talented people in our coverage area – among many things, large and small.

Throughout this evolution we have maintained the goal of increasing interactivity with readers and finding ways to present a newspaper and electronic imprint such as it could be an important partner with everyone in our area interested in what’s happening in their neighborhood.

You’ve probably seen a few of the changes we had in mind for 2018 already and thank you for those who have and subsequently wrote or called to express their appreciation.

However, the major evolution on our agenda this year is multi-faceted and conceptual, and the specifics will evolve over the course of the year, and particularly in reaction to reader reaction. I’ve been calling it Project Homepage. While it is hardly revolutionary in the industry, it will change our relationship with readers. Plus, I thought the name was pretty cool. Yes, sometimes things are as simple as that.

The concept is the following. By expanding our international, national and local breaking news on our website and social media, and by expanding online two-way discussions with readers with questions and comments, my objective is to make our webpage Minot’s de facto homepage. By homepage in this case, I mean a website one can access anytime, all day to read the latest in news from the world and from the next block over. Whether you’re following a huge story abroad, following up on a local rumor to see if there is any truth to it, or curious if a felon from last night has been arrested today, our goal is to be the provider of your news while you’re at work or home. No more switching between national news sites and a variety of regional sites to try to cull the news that interests you. Instead, our vision is to be one portal for all relevant news. While the newspaper itself will remain the point of access for our comprehensive coverage of local and regional news, Project Homepage is intended to make our website your site of choice to remain an engaged resident.

Parts of the project are already underway.

– The past year, we have increased exponentially the use of our website and our social media imprint, testing systems and looking for best practices for our objective.

– This past week, our newsletter went hot. From our home landing page now, you can sign up for a daily newsletter, which will include the leading handful of news and sports story from the day’s paper. It’s a free service and permits you to have your leading local news delivered directly to you. Of course, more detailed news awaits in print and on the website.

– Most if not all of our special products are accessible from the website, expanding access to different types of content for your information and entertainment.

There is still plenty to come and we are still looking at facets to include, upgrade or enhance, to make the paper an indispensable part of our readers’ everyday. Last year’s fun and popular contests will probably move from being email based to web based. There will be more opportunities for readers to directly address staff members, ask questions and make submissions and suggestions.

Our objective is for readers to bookmark or minimize our website window and refer back to it repeatedly throughout the day – to stay abreast of all the news you most want to know.

While I have components I am sure that we want, we are also open to suggestions. And, when finalized, we will definitely be interested in your feedback and evaluation. In fact, your feedback and suggestions over the past year are the genesis of the plan in the first place. For this, we are all grateful.

Working as a team at Minot Daily News is a given and I wouldn’t trade our team for any other in the state. Publisher Dan McDonald, Regional Editor Eloise Ogden and Copy Desk Editor Mandy Taniguchi have already been big parts of Project Homepage’s first steps. They and the rest of the Editorial Department will be integral to the plan’s future.

As always, we hope the changes in store for 2018 will meet with your support. It’s that support that propelled us through our last two years’ evolution, and for that, we are humbly appreciative.

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