By David Gordon, Associate Editor and Board Chair
Change is the name of our game at the moment: a new series about Chippewa Valley nonprofits, a somewhat revamped home page layout and new office space.
If you’re reading this, you’ve obviously worked your way through the changed layout on the CVPost home page. These changes came about in the process of posting the first in a new series of articles entitled “6 of Substance.”
That posting exercise took close to an hour on Sunday night (March 12), trying out different possibilities before we found a satisfactory layout. More on this a bit later, because the primary task at hand is to introduce you to the “6 of Substance” series and what you’ll find there.
You’ll see a new instalment of this weekly series every Sunday night, at the top of the left-hand column on the CVPost home page. “6 of Substance” will offer you a look each week at one of the wide array of Chippewa Valley nonprofit organizations that exist to deal with needs that are otherwise unmet.
We consider this series to be an important part of one of our goals: to raise public awareness of how the nonprofit sector functions and why it is needed. Each weekly instalment will present a nonprofit’s answers to six questions we’ve posed to them about who they are and what they do. These responses will be edited only for length, grammar and style concerns.
We hope that by making this information available, we will spur your interest in learning more about how the Chippewa Valley works and about where and why it’s not yet working well for everyone. If we’ve really piqued your curiosity, please consider expanding your interest by becoming a volunteer community reporter and telling our readers more about one or another of these nonprofit organizations.
Progress on a Second Front
A second recent milestone for the CVPost was the move of our office to Grace Lutheran Church. We hauled our rather modest office furnishings from their former abode at Christ Church Cathedral to Room 216 at 202 W. Grand Ave., with some important help from the folks at Chippewa Valley Community TV.
It will take us a little while to get everything organized and functioning at the new office, and we’ll let you know when we’re up and running. At that point, we hope you’ll drop in occasionally to talk about possible story ideas, or to give us your reactions (positive or negative) to stories we’ve run.
Or just to chat a bit about the news media’s place in the current societal and political landscapes.
Can Any Website Change be “Simple”?
Now, let me go back briefly to how and why a “simple change” like posting a new series on the website became complicated enough to require what amounted to a minor redesign of the home page.
We thought we had settled on a prominent and consistent home page location for the “6 of Substance” series, at the top of the right-hand “sidebar” column on the home page. Not so! As we prepared to go live with this on Sunday night, we discovered that while the home page location worked, it resulted in side-by-side displays of the logo and headline when the article “jumped” to an inside web page.
As we should have realized, both the full article and the original right-hand column display were visible there. So, we (Andrew Janssen, our very patient web technician, with a few suggestions and numerous expletives from me) experimented rapidly with other home page locations for the series and found that they unfailingly unbalanced the home page column lengths, leading to several very strange layouts.
After more trial-and-error efforts than we enjoyed, we placed the “6 of Substance” logo and lead copy at the top of the left-hand column, just below the “Editor’s Pick” space, and moved several other news and information categories to new locations. The result – we hope – is a home page that holds together well.
The major change (Andrew’s idea) was shifting the “Commentary” section from a two-column format at the bottom of the page to a single-column format at the right. This compresses the space available for the headline and an image, but it gives the section greater visibility both because it’s higher on the page and because it will now appear on every interior news page on the website.
Summing it up, we have three hopes: that you like the new home page layout; that you stop by our new office space when you can; and that you enjoy and learn some useful information from the “6 of Substance” series. Please don’t hesitate to let us know about the first and third of those.