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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Democrat-Herald, Gazette-Times websites get a makeover, check it out

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I’ve been on the job as your new editor all of 3½ weeks, so it’s time to shake things up.

Kidding! Sorta.

Digital readers soon will notice big changes to our websites. Today the Democrat-Herald’s page — that’s democratherald.com to the uninitiated — will be the first to undergo the transformation. The Corvallis Gazette-Times (at gazettetimes.com) will go next, on Thursday. 

An update will be happening for our website this week! Here's what things will look like.

Oh, you’ll notice. These changes are not subtle. One might say the differences are black and white. That’s because we’re going from a white background in a format that’s not unlike the look of a newspaper’s front page, complete with masthead, to a black background that may remind you a bit of a streaming service. Gazette-Prime, anyone? Democrat-Hulu?

I believe it’s a huge improvement, not only because a dim background is much easier on the eyes — and will let your partner sleep easy while you wrestle with insomnia by catching up on your local news — but because it’s adaptive to what you like to read. 

The new sites will incorporate what’s called machine learning. At first, it might appear to be machine dullard, as the computer programs learn a little about you and the types of stories that interest you. The more you engage with our news websites, the more you’ll get exactly what you like.

Don’t freak out. This isn’t the world of social media that’s been embroiled in recent controversies for pushing ever-more sensational and titillating content, keeping “users” glued to their platforms, pushing them “down the rabbit hole.”

You’re not a user to us. You’re a reader. And likely a resident of our hometowns. The content we offer is strong, local journalism from strong, local journalists with stories about your communities.

You’re likely to run into me at Willamette Park or grabbing a bite to eat at the Barn at Hickory Station. I’m not a faceless platform, and I’m accountable for the news we produce.

Meanwhile, you also will find national news, entertainment and lifestyle stories and columns from respected sources to round out your experience. You'll also be able to identify even easier which stories include video and photo galleries, two features extremely popular with readers.

The Mid-Valley Media News Group is your one-stop place for news you can trust. Give the new websites a look-see.

penny

P.S.: As much as I’d like to take credit for the makeover, the timing is quite coincidental, I assure you. When I have something to crow about, you’ll hear it. Your publications have excellent staff who are excited for the future. We’ve only just begun.

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