FAIRFIELD — The Daily Republic will leap into the future late Wednesday when it launches a new website that reflects an entirely new way of publishing the newspaper.
The website is powered by WordPress, a mature, open-source blogging platform that has been significantly enhanced to accommodate the needs of the newsroom and the community.
Daily Republic reporters, photographers and editors will produce all local content online, which means local news, features, sports and opinion pieces will publish on the new website in a much more timely manner than was possible with the former website.
This transformation will see the Daily Republic become a true Web-first news site, with local content published soon after it’s created. The best that’s available on the website will then be curated for publication in the print edition. The DR’s print and delivery schedule will not change.
“Our new site will enable us to engage with our community better than ever,” said Brad Stanhope, the Daily Republic’s online editor for the transition to the new technology. “We see dailyrepublic.com as a place where people not only get informed, but debate, engage and connect with each other.”
The new website maintains the comfortable read of the print edition, from the home page through to the individual stories. It also provides greater access for readers. Subscribers will be able to view local news anywhere, at any time. That includes mobile devices.
Development was led by Joe Boydston, vice president of digital media for McNaughton Newspapers, and Dean Royal, the company’s director of online strategies. The process involved a complete upgrade of computer hardware and software in the newsroom.
“Over the past six months we’ve successfully harnessed a front-runner in open-source publishing technologies and ignited new spirits of optimism within McNaughton,” Royal said. “In the next six months the readership of our news will quadruple and our community interaction will double. It’s exhilarating to be part of such an extraordinary evolutionary change.”
Boydston describes the new website as Daily Republic 2.0.
“We are adjusting our priorities to better serve Solano County,” he said. “I describe what we are doing as ‘digital native.’ We simply publish, early and often.”
“This is more than a website,” he said. “It is our entire existence, the whole of our journalistic efforts. Everything we do, say, print and publish exists here. We write and edit news stories live on the Internet, hours or days before they appear in the printed newspaper.”
There are also financial benefits that will pay dividends for readers.
“Instead of spending huge amounts of money on proprietary software, we choose to invest in the people who make the Daily Republic the award-winning newspaper it is,” Boydston said. “Today’s dailyrepublic.com was created with 100 percent open-source software, much of it developed internally by Daily Republic staff.”
As with any technological change, there are some drawbacks. For example, comments posted on the current website will not be viewable on the new website. In that sense, the new website is a clean slate. Beginning shortly after 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, readers can make use of enhanced commenting capabilities. Those comments will remain linked to stories indefinitely.
The Daily Republic is the third McNaughton Newspapers publication to make the transition. The Mountain Democrat in Placerville made the switch in October, and The Davis Enterprise made the conversion in February.
“I am extremely proud of both our technology and editorial teams. This is cutting edge work that has taken enormous effort,” said Foy McNaughton, publisher of the Daily Republic and president and chief executive officer of McNaughton Newspapers. “Tremendous credit goes to Joe Boydston, who kept us all focused during this revolutionary change.”
Reach Glen Faison at 427-6925 or [email protected]