My first few years at Farm and Dairy, when I entered the building from the rear, I had to walk by two mammoth Linotype machines. As its name suggests, it was used to produce a solid “line of type”, and that’s how newspapers were created for generations until more modern typographic machines were built.
My first bylines were written on a typewriter (no, it wasn’t manual) and we composed pages by hand, with lots of hot wax, X-ACTO knives and giant rollers to make sure nothing fell off on the way to the camera room.
Today’s a lot different. Everything’s computerized and we just added computer-to-plate technology in January, which means we bypass the darkroom step altogether now. Finished pages go straight from a computer in the newsroom to another computer in the press building, where the plates that go on the press are burned.
And for nearly 10 years, we’ve been online, posting news, then classified ads, then auctions on the Internet. Last week, we brought you our very first multimedia slide show online, the voices and pictures of victims of a tornado in Tennessee and the Ohio volunteers who stepped in to help clean up their farms. You can still check out reporter Andrea Zippay’s work here.
This month will bring another step in our ongoing evolution, as we unveil our new Web site and design. It’s been a long time in the works and we’re still working out the bugs, but on April 14, when you visit www.farmanddairy.com, you’ll see the new “us.”
It will be a more attractive and more useful site, with easier navigation and powerful searches.
The new Web site features more news and daily news updates, so you can read some articles online before they’re in print. We’ll be able to put more photos online than we can publish in print and, of course, the archives are fully searchable and will let you find stories you read back in 2000.
You’ll find many of the columnists online and features like our online poll, Hazard a Guess and Vacation With Us. The recipe section has been revamped and is much easier to search now, and even offers a way for you to submit a recipe and rate your favorites.
One of the new features — forums — will let you link to your online Farm and Dairy family by posting questions, sharing tips, or sounding off on a variety of subjects. We’re counting on you to register, post a comment or two, start a new subject thread and connect with friends old and new.
You’ll be able to read, search and print all the auction and classified ads.
You’ll be able to get up-to-date commodity market prices and livestock auction reports.
You’ll be able to get the latest weather information.
And we’ve even got some blogs (web logs) in the works.
What will this mean for the print Farm and Dairy? Not a thing. We’re still committed to providing timely news, ads and information in print — just as we have for the past 94 years. We’re not going anywhere.
But we’re excited about expanding our audience around the world and in our backyard. We know the world is moving at a faster pace and our Web site will help us keep up.
So if you haven’t visited us online, we hope you will today. And we hope you’ll log on April 14, too, to witness our next generation.