The Martha's Vineyard Times will post a new, expanded web site on Jan. 5, offering increased interactivity for site visitors, according to a press statement released yesterday by Amy Simcik Williams, The Times web editor.
The new site will include everything in the print edition of the paper, including ads, online and live, plus enhanced archive services. In addition, the site's home page will include regular news updates, along with a reader forum, an expanded web cam page, a real estate transaction archive, an obituary archive, a new interactive bargain box, and new advertising opportunities for the paper's advertising customers.
"The redesigned site will retain many of the distinctive features that visitors favor on mvtimes.com, but will be expanded next week with new functions to inform and interest readers and to accommodate the new digital edition." Ms. Williams said.
"The goal of this, the umpteenth edition of mvtimes.com, is the same as it has always been," Peter Oberfest, Times publisher said yesterday. "That is, to serve Islanders, seasonal Islanders, and visitors with information they want and need, in whatever form, online or on paper, they'd like to receive it. We want mvtimes.com to be a necessary stop in every Islander's day, interactive and fun, useful and informative, even indispensable. And, we want to make it easier and more rewarding for our business customers to reach their customers online, so that readers and advertisers meet on mvtimes.com."
The new digital edition is a replica of the print newspaper, Times officials said. All the news, calendar information, photographs, and advertising messages will appear in a format familiar to Times' readers. The digital edition will be fully searchable, for news, graphics and for ads. Text may be enlarged for easier reading, either online or offline as a PDF. Online readers will find advertisements precisely where they are published in the print edition. And visitors may enlarge the ad, print it, or link to the advertiser's web address, if it is included in the print ad.
The digital edition also offers two connection speeds for either dial-up or broadband service. Other advantages are search and personalization features as well as page view options and table of content listings.
"The digital version of the newspaper will display best in Internet Explorer," according to Rick Mello, The Times web administrator who built the new site. "Other browsers, such as Netscape present slight variations in appearance, special effects and features."
Ms. Williams added, "The new site, with the complete digital edition of each week's newspaper, provides additional opportunities for Times advertisers to do business online and communicate with their customers and visitors on mvtimes.com."
Advertisers may choose web links with or without descriptions and logos, tile and poster ads, and opt to sponsor a popular destination, such as the movie page on mvtimes.com.
The new mvtimes.com offers top navigation, allowing visitors to conduct concise searches without scrolling and find favorite pages quickly with "jump to" links. Updated directories and the obituary and real estate transaction archives, all permit easy searches. And the reader forum invites visitors to discuss a new topic or join an existing one, and to respond to letters to the editor online.
"For several years, and through several editions of mvtimes.com, we have tried to add to and improve the experience for visitors to The Times site," Doug Cabral, the newspaper's editor said. "Twice, mvtimes.com has been honored for the best website among large weeklies in New England, by the New England Press Association. But we know there's more to be done to make mvtimes.com useful to the Vineyard community and to the advertisers who use The Times to reach their customers. Next week's debut for the new mvtimes.com will take us several steps along the way toward our goal.