NetNewsLedger Continues To Evolve – Thanks to You

THUNDER BAY – Through the course of the summer, NetNewsledger.com has been undergoing a complete upgrade. The site has a new look and feel, as well as a lot of improvements under the “hood” that have sped up the site and made it easier to navigate. We have improved our SEO, and added several new categories to the site.

We have been tweaking the site to make it even more user-friendly, and more helpful to you our readers.

The process isn’t over yet. We are going to be adding several new features over the coming weeks as the upgrade continues.

All of the changes have been made live and right in front of you. It is what we call our “NASA Approach”. It means doing things live and in front of the audience. It allows your comments, questions and concerns to help us in making sure everything is doing what it should do.

NNL - Sept 1 2006
NetNewsledger.com on September 1 2006

The new look of the site lets you organize the features boxes to put the news and information most important to you where you want it. All you have to do is drag the Information-Boxes to an order that you would like them. If you want Entertainment News atop the list, you simply drag that box to the top. It is all up to you. It is something unique in Thunder Bay, and Northwestern Ontario.

One area we are expanding is our news coverage. On the menu you will notice we have local news, news related to our growing Aboriginal community, Tech Talk, Crimebeat, and International News. You may have noticed that NNL covered the hurricane in the United States and into Atlantic Canada. You may not know it, but the roots of NetNewsledger.com were in Hurricane Katrina six years ago.

NNL December 3 2007
NNL December 3 2007

During that disaster, a team came together that reported on that storm, and more specifically, on the missing people from New Orleans. Twenty people connected from around the world, working to put a list of those affected by the storm. Together we ended up with the 13th largest missing person database online, just behind cable news giant CNN.

From that point, realizing the scope of the Internet, and how far-reaching it is in our daily lives, NetNewsledger.com was born.

Over the past six years NNL has changed a lot. At first we were hand-coding html and our own css. Then we shifted into Joomla. Now we are using WordPress as our foundation. We have changed a lot, and we are continuing to evolve and grow. At first NetNewsledger was a wild-looking lime green. We have evolved a lot since then.

NNL July 27 2008
NNL July 27 2008

Today with WordPress, the site looks and feels a lot different, and your comments and emails are telling us that you like what you see. So too are the growing numbers of readers from across the region.

We have also added our games.netnewsledger.com and fight.netnewsledger.com as well as our free classified ads at classifieds.netnewsledger.com. We have also added a stock-ticker on the main page.

Shortly we will be shifting our weather coverage into high gear. With the start of fall, more people need better weather information. It makes NetNewsledger.com a hive of activity as our web tech calls it.

NNL February 16 2009
NNL February 16 2009

Looking back over the past six years, it has been a long trail. There have been many interesting moments. NetNewsledger.com has broken stories that have been later reported in other local media up to five weeks later. We have not taken a very traditional path. There is no government funding keeping NNL going. It has remained a Thunder Bay effort of dedication.

We have also, proudly brought forward some interesting innovations. NetNewsledger.com along with project partner Morvision have live-streamed a host of events across Thunder Bay. We have demonstrated how critical it is to engage events and people. Our live-stream broadcasts have included the unveiling of the City of Thunder Bay’s Aboriginal liason Logo, which was the first live-stream of a Smudge Ceremony in Northwestern Ontario. We have also live-streamed the townhalls on the proposed Event Centre, thus allowing more people to take part.

NNL Sept 1 2010
NNL Sept 1 2010

Our Candidate’s and Leader’s Ledgers continue to grow in popularity. It is our view that democracy benefits greatly when you get to engage directly with those who represent you in various political offices at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. Not all our elected officials have chosen to take part yet, but the number is growing. It is new democracy in action in the even critical online news and information world.

Our team which continues to grow; see our joint roles as providing news, information, ideas and positive solutions. We know not everyone will always agree with everything we have suggested. In fact, to us, that is fine. One of the roles we see of the media is offering positive solutions. When we do that, and it gets others thinking, and coming up with ideas, it helps the entire process of making our Thunder Bay more inclusive, more open and better.

We also see a role in presenting Thunder Bay, and Northwestern Ontario to the world – sharing what is special about our region, and serving as an unofficial cheerleader for the wonderful place we have all chosen as our homes.

Finally, and most importantly, we see our role as speaking truth to power. That is perhaps the most important role any media outlet can, and should have. It means when we find things that may not be all that pleasant, our role is to investigate, double-check, triple-check, and then report on the truth. That is a role that will often put NNL in the position of possibly frustrating some people in our community. It is a role NetNewsledger.com has been growing into, and one we believe is vital.

So as you log-on each day, to gather your news and information from all of us putting things together on a daily basis, all we can say is thank you for investing part of your day with us.

If there is news you believe we should be covering, tell us, we are listening. Keep in touch Thunder Bay, the next few months are going to be exciting, and interesting both.

The real story for all of the NNL team is you, our readers. Without you, there would be little point in us doing what we do. Any publication depends on its readers. We simply can not say THANK YOU enough!

Thank you, Meegwetch, Merci, Kiitos, Grazie, and Tika hoki!

James Murray
News Director