The innovation which we begin by this morning’s issue is justified by the dullness of the times, and by the demand for news among us.
For Yale history buffs, the above line was the lead sentence published in the first edition of the News. Jan. 28, 1878. Upper left-hand corner. Page one.
This morning, however, “dullness” should read “liveliness.” And “innovation” no longer refers to the first college daily, but to the new Web site of the News, just now unveiled, 130 years later, on this Nov. 8, 2007.
Today, in other words, marks the start of a new era for the Oldest College Daily — and, we hope, for the Yale community in turn.
The world of new media offers unmatched opportunity for newspapers to expand — and, for those publications steeped in tradition, to innovate in ways otherwise impossible. That said, the News’ Web site is designed not to supplant the print edition but to supplement it.
Consider some of the newly offered features: article tag sections to better aggregate content, links within stories so readers can read related stories at the click of a button, a box for sending anonymous news tips, easier author contact forms, more popularity tags, a forthcoming guide to campus and city life.
Context, now, is readily available. Minutes after the Web site’s launch, a story about John DeStefano’s winning the mayoral race prompted a deeper journey for one News editor: from the election piece to another on the city’s recent formation of the Department of Youth to a third on youth street crime in New Haven.
While the News reading experience until yesterday ended with that final quote or pithy fact, the online journey at yaledailynews.com today can go on forever.
The new Web site will also contribute to a more active two-way newsroom. For the first time since any currently enrolled student has been at Yale, comments will be allowed on News stories, retroactively effective Nov. 1.
Making context and commenting available to readers, though, is only the beginning. Over the coming year, the News will expand to video — YDNtv — and streaming audio content. Except that the stations will be neither broadcasted nor transmitted via cable.
It’s all online.
The idea, again, is not to detract from the print product but to serve as its counterpart: expect video packaged with breaking news, a weekly television newsmagazine, feature profiles reported not only in print but visually and, beginning soon, a weekly newscast complete with analysis, interviews with professors and previews of the coming week.
In some ways, admittedly, a fresh design for the Web site has meant taking a fresh look at the newspaper.
Unlike the print edition, the online edition of the News is available to readers worldwide. Blogs will provide a forum for stylish continuous news coverage; more online exclusive content will mean more room for printed analysis.
Take advantage of the Web site during your time here. Post a comment this morning, fill out a form requesting to join the video staff, sign up for nightly headlines.
In comparison to the constant hammering at the Art and Architecture Building next door, the News’ Briton Hadden Memorial Building at 202 York Street may not appear to be under renovation.
But let the truth be told: The Oldest College Daily is new once again.