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Monke: New Press website gives readers easier access to news

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The newspaper industry, perhaps more than any other, must keep up with technology in order to stay relevant.

In the early 1900s, we didn’t run any photos and had hundreds of small stories in tiny type jam-packed onto our front page. Photos were commonplace by the mid-20th century but putting a newspaper together was still a tedious process of typewriters and typesetting. By the turn of the century, computer programs had changed the way the industry worked as well as the way newspapers presented themselves.

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Dustin Monke Think about this: The day after Theodore Roosevelt died in 1919, The Press had a 200-word story that it gave below-the-fold treatment. There was no photo, illustration or anything. Not even an obituary.

Today, that story would have been standing alone on our front page with many of you rushing to our website long before the newspaper arrived at your home the next morning. Some of you would have been directed to the story on our website via an email or text message alert.

Today, we do everything we can to stay on top of the news. As often as possible, we try to provide you with the latest in breaking and trending news as soon as it crosses our editor’s desks.

Last Friday, we took a step toward improving how we go about presenting our readers with that news by changing the look of our website and the manner in which we post news to it.

The new site, which is similar to that of many other Forum Communications Co. newspapers, makes it simpler for you to access stories you want to read and easier for us to provide you with that news.

Our old website format had been around for about five years with very few updates or changes. It was fine in its own right but it had problems. It was sometimes difficult to find stories, the photos were tiny, the layout had become tired and it was more strenuous than it should have been for us to provide you with new and updated content.

Starting this week, we have taken a new approach with our website.

Like many other newspapers, we are publishing tomorrow’s news today. By that, I mean that many of the stories you read in today’s newspaper appeared online at some point yesterday.

Previously, we had waited until 11 p.m. to publish the majority of our stories. With so many other sources in our region competing to get you the news, this no longer makes sense.

We understand that you, our readers, want the news now and we plan to give it to you by posting it to our website as soon as that news is fit to print.

Of course, there are some stories that won’t appear on the website until the following day for various reasons. But the majority will be there to read by the time before you go to bed.

Think of it as The Dickinson Press’ evening edition.

Some of our stories will also appear on our Facebook page.

The Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C., recently revealed that about one-third of 18- to 29-year-olds learn about current events through Facebook. It makes sense and I encourage all of our younger readers to stay engaged with news from our area and state by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter, where stories are also linked.

Do you spend most of your time on your tablet? That’s fine. The new website looks great and works seamlessly on those. You can also download our iPad app, which has the same feel as the website but has less clutter.

We also encourage your feedback of those who read the physical copy of the newspaper. We are slowly trying to improve the manner in which the news that appears in print is presented and we are taking steps toward improving the overall appearance of the newspaper.

Over the centuries, newspapers have survived many challenges. In a society that increasingly demands its news be delivered to them faster, it is our duty to keep up with changes.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to send us critiques of the website, the newspaper and our social media pages.

Monke is the managing editor of The Dickinson Press. Email him at dmonke@thedickinsonpress.com, tweet him at monkebusiness and read his past columns and features at monke.areavoices.com.

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Dustin Monke
Monke came to The Dickinson Press in July 2006 as the newspaper's sports editor and was hired as its managing editor in March 2013. During his tenure at The Press, Monke has won multiple awards for sports reporting, feature reporting, column writing, page design and photography. He has been a key member of The Press winning the North Dakota Newspaper Association's General Excellence and Sweepstakes awards in 2009 and 2012, as well as the Press' Sweepstakes win in 2013. As the newspaper's editor, he writes a Sunday column, contributes feature stories, designs pages and oversees the day-to-day operations of the newsroom and editorial staff.
(701) 456-1205
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