In order to remain relevant over time, businesses must constantly innovate. This is particularly true of news organizations, as the media business has undergone radical change since the advent of the Internet.
Weekly community newspapers like the Alexandria Times have not been exempt — we have seen our business model change significantly in recent years. New technology has dramatically impacted both the revenue and news aspects of our paper.
On the advertising front, we have multiple new tools at our disposal to help market local businesses. For instance, in addition to regular print ads, which remain the gold standard for a community paper, newspapers like ours offer inserts, front-page banners and stickers. Digitally, advertising opportunities expand almost daily. In addition to traditional ads on web pages, targeted email and pop-up marketing tools can be demographically and geographically pinpointed to an astonishing degree.
Advancements on the news side are just as remarkable. On both the primary and general election nights last year, Times reporter Chris Teale tweeted live updates of returns from our local elections for mayor and city council.
Our print edition is where we were able to provide readers with valuable pre-election information about the candidates in our award-winning voter’s guide and then in-depth post-election follow-ups. But it was on social media where we were able to keep Alexandrians informed in real time. This has taken place as part of a big push to expand our social media output, with the Times now up above 8,000 followers on Twitter and with more than 1,200 Facebook likes.
This week, the Times is happy to unveil our latest innovation: a new website.
Designed by Alexandria-based Ironistic, our new site is full of fun wrinkles on both the news and advertising sides. Current news, sports, arts and opinion articles are presented in a clear and easily accessible manner. It is now easier to find archived copies of the paper, to view photo galleries both old and recent, to sign up to receive a weekly e-edition of the paper or to follow our various social media channels.
We have a section displaying current social media posts, an area where our most recent editorials are grouped, and a special section for our regular columnists. You can check out everything from the latest weather to trending stories.
We are also happy, in this age of increasing incivility, to announce that anonymous posts will no longer be allowed on our website, as they are not allowed in our print edition. To make comments either in print or online, readers are required to provide their name.
The site also provides the capability for leaderboard and side ads, and new innovations like belly ads that run all the way across the page as readers scroll down, and more.
We encourage readers to check it out at www.alextimes.com and give us your feedback. We are still making minor tweaks to the site and welcome your comments.
Times readers are also invited to join us for a Cinco de Mayo happy hour to help celebrate the launch. It will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., May 5 at Chadwicks, located at 203 Strand St. Free appetizers and a cash bar will be provided.
Members of the Times news and advertising staffs will be present, as will members of the Ironistic design team. Please join us as we celebrate a significant milestone in our continuing evolution as a news organization.