Some people would have you believe that the Internet is killing print journalism. To be sure, it has become clear that as cyberspace expands, print often contracts. Still, at Weld we don’t view that often-wrenching reality as heralding the impending death of print journalism, but rather as a challenge to build a new, adaptive model for delivering it.
For more than a year as a brand, Weld has been built around the idea that the journalism of the 21st century is not about the divide between digital and print, but the leveraging of any and all platforms for content delivery to a wider and growing audience.
In other words, at this company, we believe you can have both journalism that arises from the respected values enshrined in traditional news gathering and reporting, and a firm grasp on the power of new media to disseminate stories that matter across both the front page, and the electronic frontier.
Today’s official introduction of the new, improved weldbham.com is another stride forward in that corporate mission. Since the company began last year, the intent to present Weld as a new kind of media company has been on the table. Now with weldbham.com under new design management and sporting a fresher, more user-friendly interface, we believe we’re pointed in the right direction.
If you’ve been looking at weldbham.com before today, some of the changes should be obvious. With the design expertise of Infomedia, we’ve organized our content from the print edition in much more user-friendly way, we’ve eliminated the endless scroll and added other functions to make navigation easier, and we’ve plugged in a feed bringing you content from one of our new media partners, WIAT, also known as CBS 42.
You will find it much easier to search our archived content through images of past covers, meaning you can revisit columns that moved you before — Publisher Mark Kelly’s Red Dirt, say, or Courtney Haden’s powerful political opinions — or catch up on our ongoing, groundbreaking history series No More Bull!
But other, bigger, changes may require that you look deeper. The internal architecture of the new site makes it easier for you, as a member of the public, to create or show off your blog to the weldbham.com audience, and for anyone to access it, whether via computer, tablet, or mobile phone. The simplified process of creating a blog means that weldbham.com can become a true community forum, a bulletin board where you can offer your observations of what’s going on in your area, as well as a crossroads where the best bloggers can trade well-written commentary – humorous or serious, political or nonpartisan, exclusive or shared from another site. We’re opening the door for more voices to be heard in important ways.
As Weld continues to evolve as a company, weldbham.com will reflect our commitment to incisive commentary, expansive news, arts, and cultural reporting, and to our increasing use of better and better tools – whether still and video photography, or our social media adjuncts like Facebook and Twitter – to help convey the richness of the stories we cover. We will use our website to broaden the reach of the good writing our print readers prize, and to tell stories no one else is telling.
Weld publisher Mark Kelly likes to talk about “redemptive journalism,” the notion that journalists can build a community, rather than tear it down, by making smart choices in what they cover and how they cover it. That concept, fundamental to what we do at Weld, will be on display at weldbham.com as it is in the print edition. The aim in using both platforms remains true to the company name: to bring people in the Birmingham community together, to forge a constructive conversation around meaningful, locally relevant content, and to demonstrate a bold, thoughtful approach to telling important stories.
We’re convinced that the new weldbham.com will help us realize the mission and the meaning behind the name of the brand – Weld for Birmingham.