Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Opinion

Reimagining online journalism at tampabay.com

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"You don't smoke weed? Come on," the doped-up kid sarcastically says to a Tampa Bay Times videographer as the teen and some pals pass around a joint in broad daylight in St. Petersburg's downtown Williams Park.

The story of how a park that was once the jewel of the Sunshine City has become a sad and sorry square of drug dealing, mental illness and despondency is powerfully told on the front page of this newspaper today. But I invite you to witness more of the story at tampabay.com, where you will find vivid and honest video of the scene.

While you're at the website, I encourage you to stop at a prompt called News Near Me and type in your ZIP code. It will provide links to 10 more news and feature stories near where you live or work.

But wait, there's more!

You'll find editorial cartoons, our baseball and hockey blogs, galleries with award-winning Times photography as well as a slide show of beautiful pictures taken by our readers. (Send us more!) There are easy-to-find links to our exposé on abusive group homes, the latest on the Church of Scientology, and our recent moving narrative on a preemie named Juniper. There is the startling video of the meteor in the skies of Russia. And who could resist video of Hillsborough firefighters rescuing baby ducklings or the exploits of a two-legged cat.

Why the commercial? We've redesigned, rebuilt and truly reimagined our digital journalism.

With more than double the monthly audience of any other Tampa Bay news website, tampabay.com has long been the digital hub for Times journalism. This week we unveiled the product of a substantial investment in new technology that expands our ability to serve readers and advertisers online.

Our reimagined tampabay.com is much easier to search and navigate, offers more photos and videos (it is, after all, a visual medium), and is striking in its bold look and clean design. What's more, it translates beautifully to your phone or tablet without the need to buy or load any apps.

The Times, Florida's largest newspaper, developed the new site in partnership with 352 Media Group, a Web design company, and the software company Autonomy, owned by HP.

Some highlights:

• A better navigation bar that will make it easier to find news and your favorite features.

• More ways to customize the site to find the content most relevant to you. Watch for more of this in the coming weeks and months.

• More video, from the Tampa Bay region and from sources such as AP, Reuters, CBS, ABC, Fox Sports, Weather Channel, E! Entertainment, Food Network, Kiplinger, TV Guide and many others.

With any new digital experience, the best way to understand its possibilities is to explore. For example, hover your cursor over any one of the bold subject headings at the top of the page — News, Politics, or Sports — and a menu pops up with further subject choices and story links. Double click on the subject heading and a new page comes up featuring material from that section.

Entertainment news is found under both Things to Do and Features & More, with links to the Juice and Stuck in the '80s blogs, as well as coverage from the newspaper's critics.

To take full advantage of the site's personalization features, register with us through any of the most common social networking accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, AOL and others. You will find the Login/Register link at the top right of every page. This allows you to comment on stories, share them, and follow what your friends are doing on tampabay.com.

We realize there may be technical hiccups in the early going. We will keep working to improve the experience. If you run across some problems, please let us know with an email to: [email protected]

As the leading news, advertising and information company in Tampa Bay, we know some people prefer the Tampa Bay Times newspaper, others love the website or like to look at us on their phone or tablet.

Our prize-winning political fact-checking operation, PolitiFact, draws a national audience, and our weekday tabloid, tbt*, is a bay area favorite and one of the fastest-growing newspapers in America.

So at the Times we don't buy some false choice of print vs. online. We vote All of the Above. Our new website elevates our digital presentation to the same great excellence of our widely acclaimed newspaper. We look forward to your feedback.

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