Pretty spiffy, right?
I certainly think so. Then again, I would; the old website has been my white whale for the last three months, an ungainly thing that wasn’t particularly handsome on the front end and that was utterly chaotic on the back end. Now we’re finally moving on, and from both an aesthetic and an editorial viewpoint, it really does feel like we’re embarking on a new era.
Perhaps the most important aspect of this, as Mark, Nick, and Heather have pointed out, is that Weld can attain the blogging network it’s always been predicated on, as our “blog first, print best” model would indicate. With our house officially in order, we can get to patching the many fractures in our community one individual, or group, or neighborhood at a time.
Now, to quote David Byrne, “You may ask yourself, how do I work this?” Fortunately for the both of us, the process is remarkably simple.
See that “Registration” tab up on the masthead, in-between “Login” and “About Us”? Click on it, and you’ll be presented with a blank form asking you to fill in a site address–for instance, weldbham.com/my-very-own-blog–a site title, a primary email, relevant topics you think your blog might cover, and any extra comments you think are germane. Once you finish that five-minute process and submit it, I’ll review the form before adding it to our network. Once that’s done, you’re officially a Weld Local community blogger.
The question, then, becomes why bother writing on our network at all? From a promotional perspective, it opens up your writing (or art, or other worthy contributions) to a much larger audience than starting a new tumblr or Blogger account. From a career perspective, any content that gets featured online is much more likely than random submissions to make it into the paper, making you an official contributor (or even, in time, a freelancer) and building your résumé. From a writer’s perspective, the combination of an expectant audience and an editorial presence will keep you honest, writing on schedule, and honing your skills.
Perhaps more important than any of those reasons, though, is what the blogging network could mean for the city. Weld–or at least the Platonic ideal of Weld we’re finally arriving at–isn’t just a network or a newspaper. It’s a platform and a forum. It’s a place to make your voice heard and to enrich Birmingham’s civic and artistic identity.
And it may be, with your help, the first step to building the unified culture that allows Birmingham to fulfill its long-deferred promise.