The ‘new’ and what it means

The new and improved launched on April 30.

The new and improved launched on April 30.

Our daily Web site is good looking, easy to read, and connects you with a lot more news and information from the area and region. The lion’s share of the credit goes to our New Media director, Seth Long, and the New Media crew.

The re-creation of is the result of a lot of collaboration, a lot of dreaming, a lot of research and a lot of hard work. Let me know what you think: is neatly organized: News, Sports, Entertainment, Business, Lifestyles, Community, Opinion, Letters, Weather, Horoscopes, Lotteries, Comics, Obits, Classifieds, Homes, Autos, Jobs. is updated several times each day, and features headlines and links to the most-read stories in the county and region, reported by 27 local newspapers. “Breaking news” headlines scroll across the top to call your attention to immediately important stories. is a fun site: There are 20 popular comics (among them “Adam@Home” and “For Better or for Worse,” “Fox Trot” and “Garfield”). And it has Dear Abby. presents new ways to connect you to what you’re looking for. Looking for a job? Click on “Jobs” and you can create an account anonymously, upload your account, view jobs that match your skills and preferences, apply for jobs and communicate with employers from your account, and access resources like salary surveys.

Looking to buy or sell a vehicle? Click on “Autos.” Find, sell, research and finance tools are at your fingertips.

Looking to buy or sell a home? Click on “Homes.” You can search for homes, rentals, open houses and agents. You can set up a personal account and save your searches, ads and listings. The Homes section also features top real estate stories from the Wall Street Journal.

Video you see on is a harbinger of what we will offer readers and advertisers. As Sinatra might say, “The best is yet to come, babe, and won’t it be fine.” Video and podcasts will provide new ways to connect readers and news and events that matter to them. Video and audio advertising messages will provide new ways to connect advertisers and the marketplace.

We still have a few bugs to work out, more features to add. Our story archive is being moved from the old system to the new one and should be available shortly.

Now, the inevitable question: What does mean to The Journal of the San Juan Islands? Can newspapers and online news sites coexist?

Yes, they can and do and will.

Newspapers were not replaced by news magazines, nor news magazines by radio, radio by television, nor television by cable, nor cable by satellite, nor satellite by Internet. They complement each other. Each keeps an eye on the powerbrokers and comforts the afflicted. Each is a valuable democratic tool that protects your right to know and empowers you to influence the events that shape your life.

Likewise, The Journal, its magazines, its special sections and complement each other. Those of us in the newsroom have more ways to deliver to you what we report. And you have more ways to access the information we have. We like that. functions as a different entity than The Journal. There are stories and features included in The Journal and its magazines that are not included on Likewise, there are stories and features on that are not included in The Journal and its magazines.

As an “old” newsman — my first job was 30 years ago this August — I have an undying belief in the importance of newspapers, particularly as our lives become more fast-paced and the information deluge gets deeper.

I like the quote by Michael Fancher, executive editor of The Seattle Times, in a recent ad in that newspaper: “I am optimistic for the future of public service journalism because, more than ever, people overloaded with information will seek out trustworthy help in navigating and connecting. The role of journalism in this emerging world is to be an honest broker.”

Richard Watson, a panelist at the World Association of Newspapers meeting in fall 2007 titled, “Futurists Envision the Newspaper in 2020,” said this:

“Indeed, the more that life becomes globalized, digital and virtual, the more, I would argue, people will seek out products like newspapers that slow things down a little and tell us what’s important and what’s not, especially at a local level. And let’s also not forget that physical newspapers, like books, are superb examples of industrial design which, if invented today, would be greeted as a miracle innovation. They don’t need power, there’s no screen glare, they don’t crash and when you’re finished with them they can be safely recycled.”

We live in evolving times. Exciting times, indeed.

— Contact Richard Walker at 378-5696 or