Five years ago today, The Island Free Press published its first edition.
It was Hatteras and Ocracoke islands’ first and only online newspaper.
It was an experiment of sorts, since we didn’t know what we were in for or how the paper would be received.
Five years later, we can say that online publishing is terrific.
You will notice some slight changes in the way the Island Free Press looks. Graphic designer and co-owner Donna Barnett has given the pages a new look – not really a facelift, more like a Botox treatment.
She has made some font changes in headers, made some adjustments to colors to brighten up the way we look, added color to some of the headline type, added a gray border to photos and softened the captions from a stark black to a medium gray.
However, you will notice we still have the same user-friendly format.
About a month ago, we added a feature so readers can now add their comments directly on the story pages, instead of having to e-mail us comments that we published as letters to the editor. You can still e-mail us your comments, which will still be published as letters, probably just not quite as often.
For our advertisers, we will now be offering ads on story pages, beginning with the Beach Access and Local News pages. Eventually, they will be added to all stories on other category pages.
In addition to the two banner ads at the top of my blog, “Shooting the Breeze,” we will sell ads down the right side as well. The blog page is definitely one of the most read and popular pages on the site.
And later this month, we will be offering just one banner ad on the e-mails that go to readers each week, alerting them to new stories on the site. We are currently sending out these e-mails to nearly 5,000 readers who have signed up to receive them.
Some readers wait until they get the e-mail to check the site or ask how often we publish “a new edition.” There is no certain day of the week we publish a new “edition.” There is something new on the site just about every day from Monday through Friday and some weekends. We add stories as we get them and as the news happens.
We continue to be grateful to our loyal and ever-growing readership of islanders, northern Outer Banks residents, non-resident property owners, and visitors, most of whom are regular visitors to the islands and want to keep up with news and issues and businesses.
We continue to be grateful for the support of our advertisers, many of whom have been with us since Day One. We know we bring them customers and clients, but we also know that we could not do this important work in community journalism without their backing.
At no time in the last five years was a community newspaper more important to our readers than after Hurricane Irene last August when for months rumors were everywhere and we at Island Free Press were able to bring important news from our sources directly to our readers.
We hope readers will continue to support our advertisers by visiting their shops and restaurants and using their services to buy property, rent a vacation cottage, or arrange a fishing trip or watersports lesson.
Our advertisers are now conveniently arranged by category to make it easier to find them on the site. Click on the guide to advertisers at the top of the Front Page on the left side.
As always on this date, we thank Hatteras Designs and co-owners Jim Boyd and Buddy Swain who helped us start up the Web site and still trouble-shoot our Internet problems. And we thank all of our terrific contributors, who bring you news about local issues, fishing, real estate, business, history, nature and the environment, and so much more.
On Sept. 5, 2007, some of the top stories we published on the Local News Page were about a tropical storm – Gabrielle – headed our way, the opposition of environmental groups to the plan to replace the Bonner Bridge, and access to seashore beaches.
Time marches on, but some things just don’t change.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
You can check out stories we’ve published in the last five years that you may have missed in our Archives. Click on the bar toward the bottom of the Front Page and do a search for topics that interest you or peruse the stories by year and category page.
How to reach us:
Irene Nolan, editor, firstname.lastname@example.org. 252-995-5323.
Donna Barnett, graphic designer and webmaster, email@example.com. 252-986-2542.
Liza Lutz, advertising sales, firstname.lastname@example.org. 252-573-1759.