Welcome to the new DotNews.com

Welcome to the new online home of the Dorchester Reporter. We hope you will browse through the new and improved DotNews.com, take it for a test drive and let us know what you think.

Much has changed in the 26 years since we started this news organization to serve Dorchester with a community newspaper. But the fundamental mission of the Reporter and DotNews is the same: We strive to bring you the "news and values" of the neighborhood we call home through careful research and insight, historical context and fundamentally sound journalism.

The Dorchester Reporter has been online since 1996. Although it served us well for many years and helped create DotNews.com as the online home of the Dorchester Reporter and to a large extent the neighborhood’s too, our website was behind the times.

In creating this new version of the DotNews.com, we met with several potential designers and consultants. All were good people. But, it was not until recently that we had the good fortune of connecting with a journalist who has — in our opinion— been a pioneer in the Boston online news community for many years.

Adam Gaffin runs Universal Hub, a website that we at the Reporter visit many times a day. We had long corresponded by e-mail, but earlier this year Adam was good enough to meet with us to discuss our hopes for DotNews.com. We were thrilled when he agreed to lead our effort to redesign the site. We are equally thrilled with the results.

The new DotNews has many features that will transform the way we bring you news and information about our neighborhoods. Whereas we were once essentially a weekly site, updated on Thursdays with the content of that week’s paper, we will now have much more of a daily churn of information. We will offer frequent news updates from our team of reporters. We have an in-depth and interactive calendar of events to help plan your day — and share information with your neighbors. We have feeds from blogs that offer interesting perspectives on the neighborhoods we cover. We now even allow visitors to post videos and photos of their own — or start discussions about what’s going on in the neighborhood.

We hope that those who organize civic groups, non-profits, youth sports leagues, etc. will use this website to stay in touch with their members. You can now upload all of the most up-to-date information about your organization — as often as you like — in our Notables section. We will take the most recent information you provide to us here for our print edition as well.

It will now be possible to search our website by keywords or tags. We have a treasure trove of archived stories going back many years. (We are still adding many of these older stories to the site.) It will be much easier to find great content that has always been on our site, but was previously very difficult to find. And it will all be presented in a new format that is much more user-friendly.

Some of the new features of the website may be changed and others added in coming weeks. One of the elements that we will watch carefully is the comment sections beneath each story. We fully expect that these sections will become valuable forums of thoughtful discussions.
The comment sections will be moderated by Reporter editors and, of course, those hoping to engage in hate-speech or to direct anonymous vitriol at any individual or group, will likely be gravely disappointed: We will aggressively police these sections and block repeat offenders.

Even as we celebrate the launch of this new online home of the Reporter we are cognizant that there is always room for further improvement. We welcome your feedback and will likely make some adjustments and add new features in the coming weeks.

Thank you for visiting with us. We hope DotNews.com will become a regular stop for your daily news and information.

-Bill Forry
Managing Editor

Comments

Why do you have Mattapan in the Dorchester header? It doesnt belong ....Take it out, as it is already linked on the right hand side under sister publications.

I love the new website, Bill and Adam, and I too am addicted to Universal Hub. Obviously, one of the drawbacks to your old print edition was the currency of the stories. Having stories posted in almost real time will be much more useful to the community.

Recognizing that Dorchester is such a large area, one of the simpler things I'd like to see that would enhance stories is to add a Google map, Streetview or MSN BirdsEye View image showing the primary location associated with the story.

I am hopeful that readers will embrace the site as one that adds to the sense of community that many of us in Dot share. I look forward to commenting on stories that are important to me and thank you for the opportunity.

First, thanks for the kind words!

All of the articles are now "map-enabled," so if a reporter or editor enters a specific address in the right text box, a map will get built with the story (example). But I should probably figure out how to add a "See map" link at the tops of such stories.

What will also be cool is building a weekly or monthly map that shows all stories across the neighborhood with specific addresses. Here is a very rough example I just built (the pushpins and text are too big, for one thing). And there is certainly a lot of stuff beyond stories that would be interesting or useful to see on a map. That's my next big project once I'm done making sure the site is running smoothly.

Great new look! I was wondering if you could provide RSS feeds, specifically for the news section, so that I can syndicate on my Google homepage. Maybe it's there, but I was having trouble finding it. In any case, good stuff.

Sorry about that - they're all there, but I need to do a better job of sticking those little orange buttons everywhere (and then I need to finish up an RSS directory). For now, the news RSS URL is

http://www.dotnews.com/news/feed