On Friday, June 14, 2013, GroundReport.com unveiled its new platform. Based on the industry-standard WordPress platform, GroundReport.com now offers a new “look & feel”, article categorization schema and improved composition tools for reporters. When GroundReport.com was launched in 2005, the platform was built from scratch on custom code because there was no standard packaged software available at the time suited for a self-service citizen journalism site. Our hats off to the Open Source developers individuals who brought the world WordPress. There efforts are making Open Content available to a world audience.
One Category and Subcategory for Each Article
The new GroundReport.com is structured in a new way. Based on eight years of real world experience with citizen journalism, GroundReport.com is now divided into four Categories: News, Business, Sports and Lifestyle. Under each Category are dozens of Subcategories. The Subcategories become visible on the web site as reporters post articles to them. If you think that a Subcategory is missing, contact the volunteer editors and they will consider adding it. The new categorization schema is designed to aggregate articles of common content and interest into a single, easy to find page view. Articles also are categorized by Country and in the case of the United States by State.
Front Page is Curated
We have also changed the way the Front Page works. The featured articles now fully curated by the volunteer editors to highlight the highest quality articles of interest to the general public. There is a dynamic feed in the middle of the front page that shows all the latest posts to the web site in real time. The Front Page now tracks GroundReport’s presence on Facebook and Twitter.
Improved Composition Toolkit
The article composition tools are vastly improved thanks to the power of WordPress. It is now easy to embed, format and edit images and photos in an article — which was difficult on the old site. With the proliferation of smart phones with their embedded cameras, more and more communication will be a clever combination of words and images. Wrapping text around an image is now possible. Numbering, indenting, bulletizing and spell checking are part of the standard composition toolkit. If you have questions about how to use the new composition tools contact the volunteer editors and they will try to help you.
GroundReport.com Roles and Permissions
Authors are reporters who have contributed a consistent body of work to GroundReport.com over a period of time and have earned the trust and respect of the volunteer editors. The articles posted by Authors are not curated by the volunteer editors and are immediately pushed to production and visible on the web site. Authors have Enhanced Profiles that include a biographical summary.
Editors are responsible for curating the content on the web site. They are empowered to approve articles for publication, edit articles and images and re-categorize articles to more appropriate Categories and Subcategories. Editors can add Subcategories.
GroundReport.com will continue to sell banner ads to help finance the web site’s computer infrastructure and development, though most of Groundreport.com’s funding is from donations. Contact email@example.com for more information.
A special thanks to GroundReport.com’s new technical team: Trevor Holewinski, Josh Bauguss and Jeremy Van Bibber. These WordPress experts delivered the new platform in record time and under budget, under trying circumstances, i.e., house fires, the violent storms that raged through this Spring and an unexpected litter of puppies. We expect more great things from these stellar individuals.
We also thank Cory Crosland and his team at Croscon for building and maintaining the GroundReport.com site through the years. They kept the site working and helped developed the workflows that made GroundReport a long term success.
Educational Outreach Project
Last but not least, the educational outreach project will now begin in earnest. The idea is to establish GroundReport.com as the premier new media learning laboratory for student journalists and their instructors.