As of August 1, The Kaweah Commonwealth upgraded its online presence with a new, improved, completely overhauled website (and if you're reading this, you've already discovered the site!). The site is not only graphically pleasing but also easy to navigate with a variety of interactive tools for online users.
The Commonwealth publishers worked closely over the past several months with Surf New Media (www.surfnewmedia.com), which specializes in web development for newspapers, and its owner/lead developer John Sokolich to create the new site.
Included on the site is an “e-Edition” of the weekly newspaper. Utilizing page-turning technology, the entire week’s newspaper — editorial, advertisements, and all the weekly features that never before made it online — is available to a worldwide audience. The e-Edition is free for a limited time, but the Commonwealth will most likely be following suit of other newspapers and begin offering low-cost subscriptions to the online edition.
Additional online features
Other services now online include a letter-to-the-editor form, making it easy to type out and submit your most recent thoughts and opinions on life in Three Rivers.
It used to be just the rentals, but now all classified ads are available online, so those who place classified ads in the print edition will get more bang for their buck as their ad has the potential to reach a vast audience. And it’s a lot easier to navigate TKC’s classifieds than the listings on Craigslist.
Coming as soon as next week will be the ability to purchase new subscriptions, gift subscriptions, and renewals online. The way we notify readers that their subscription is due for renewal (via invoice) will also be changing; watch for a colored dot on your mailing label that will alert you as to the status of your subscription (more about this as the system is implemented).
The most visited feature of the old Commonwealth website was the Kaweah Kam, the live webcam that shows the view in all its glory (or not if there’s a wildfire burning in the region) of the High Sierra from Three Rivers. This feature is, of course, also available on the new website.
At the Commonwealth, we’ve always considered obituaries to be one of the most important items published. We are honored to be entrusted with notifying readers of, as well as archiving, the life and passing of Three Rivers, Lemon Cove, and other area residents and those with Kaweah Country connections. To this end, there is a separate menu option and page solely for obituaries where the listings are easy to find and easy to read.
The Kaweah Kalendar listings will continue to be updated weekly as they have been since the Commonwealth first launched a website in 2002.
The “Blog” menu tab will take online users to opinion columns written by Sarah Elliott, John Elliott, and various guest writers.
And there is up-to-the-minute weather that will be supplemented by the weekly, locally relevant “Weather Watch” feature and any weather-related articles on the News page.
Extras for online readers
Because of the ease of use of the site, as well as the publishers’ goal to establish a greater online presence, as well as the fact that sometimes publishing a newspaper just once a week doesn’t cut it, there will be updates to news stories and breaking news published on the website as it happens during the week, so check in often for these notifications.
In addition, sometimes things just don’t all fit into the constraint of 12 pages; photos are excluded, paragraphs are cut from articles. There are no such stringent rules online, so that’s where readers can now find the rest of the story.
While perusing the new website, be sure to stop in at the Photo Galleries. If you’re a regular reader of the print edition of the Commonwealth, you are already aware that we feel one of the best ways to document Kaweah Country is through photos, lots and lots of photos. Now we have a place to store these collections, and they are all in color!
And last, but never least, there are the advertisers; the Commonwealth’s loyal, supportive advertisers. With print newspapers closing up shop throughout the country due to the decline of print-media readers, it’s these advertisers who have ensured that the little, unincorporated community of Three Rivers continues to have the luxury of a weekly newspaper that, as our motto says, “tells you things you won’t read, hear, or see anywhere else.”
In addition to every print advertiser now having their ad appear online via the e-Edition, there are also ad opportunities available on the website proper. The exposure for businesses and services is limitless as the Commonwealth continues to promote its website far and wide as a responsible news source for the area and a vacation/travel planner.
And that’s what is next on the publishers’ plates: a visitor magazine. Yes, there are brochures and maps and regional guides. But no one knows, travels, writes about, and documents this area like we do or has the archives to access. This is going to be one heck of a travel resource (more than two years in the making), and it will be distributed throughout Three Rivers, the local national parks, and the Central Valley while also appearing, for free, on the TKC website, again utilizing the page-turning capabilities so it is experienced online just as a paper magazine would be, but not a single tree will be harmed.