Does this new web site make me look fat?

October 27, 2010

Let's hope that we never again see this photo: 

A former web colleague of mine decided to display this wacky photo every time there was an error page. If you were at all familiar with the former wbez.org, you probably saw this photo often. Our old system left much to be desired - it actually was built as a short-term fix in 2006, but we just kept it as our content management system for the next few years. Classic public radio web site move. But today, we trot out a brand new site and hopefully, we will never see that picture again.

The new wbez.org strategy is to give you what you want, however you want it. For the first time in our short web history, we've built our presence around topic verticals. What does that mean? It means you will find more robust content under topic categories instead of proper radio shows and blogs. Yes, we still have those but you will see that content spread around the site in a more efficient manner. So if you like media coverage, there are several ways to read Robert Feder. If you like politics, you can get a nice cross-section of Eight Forty-Eight segments and exclusive stories from our City Room. If you like snarky web site introduction posts, well, you only get one. There won't be a category for that.

I've been the web editor for wbez.org for a few years. This past year, I spent my time writing and editing the Vocalo blogs. We've had a banner year behind Robert Feder and the gang and I am proud to bring the entire blog network back to wbez.org. It's a no-brainer to have such a talented group of writers added to a service like wbez.org, which constantly creates Chicago's best media. Combining forces means we have our sights set high.

We also streamlined our design, picked up more automated content from NPR and created a snazzy new audio player for your enjoyment.  And the site is administered by the same team that brought you the wbez.org and blogs.vocalo.org experiences. So even with all the new automation, our content and our curation will be what sets us apart.

All that being said, expect bugs. This is a huge site and we have yet to hire those 55 full-time web positions that Torey promised us. It's sort of like when you buy that new pair of jeans. Yeah, they looked good in the store but when you got home, you had to work them to get the right fit. That's right, we are going to work this site like a new pair of jeans.

So if you like it, let us know. If you hate it, well, then you hate it. Either way, leave a comment. I plan to put this blog post as the home page on Torey's desktop. So he'll see your work.

Enjoy the new site. A big thank you goes out to the programmers and project managers who worked on it. Now if you don't mind, we are all going to go to bed. For like three weeks.