Newspaper’s innovative new website now online

By Gloria Lloyd
Staff Reporter
news3@callnewspapers.com

The Call’s new website is now online and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for readers looking for the latest news in south county.
The website, www.callnewspapers.com, is new and improved in every way from the Call’s previous website, which served readers faithfully since the newspaper went online in mid-2003 and continued to place in statewide contests in recent years as “Best Website” among newspapers.
The content that won the Call those awards is still integral to the new website, but its next-generation features help the Call reach readers in ways it never could before.
In partnership with the Missouri Press Association and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri-Columbia, the Call’s new mobile-friendly website was designed for the way readers want to read newspapers online today, with more streamlined integration of videos, social media and photo galleries.
“As we continue to grow, essentially we have not only maintained our niche combining local news and total-market mail delivery — reaching all 50,000 homes and businesses in our circulation area through the mail — but we are also now an online daily,” Publisher Debbie Baker said.
Executive Editor Mike Anthony said, “This is all part of our constant effort to keep responding to the needs of our readers and to keep innovating with the latest technology to provide them with news that directly impacts them.”
The Call’s award-winning design team highlighted the distinctive look of the new site.
“It’s a lot cleaner, more organized and essentially easier to get around,” Call Graphic Designer Taylor Kelly said. “It’s easy to search, and it has larger photos and galleries.”
Call Graphic Designer Sarah Kelly said, “It’s more functional and visually appealing with a better font and front page and larger pictures. It’s just more modern.”
Besides the fresh look and updated navigation, the new site loads faster and should stay up during peak events such as election night.
One of the features that takes center stage in the new layout is the Call’s exclusive local discount program, Coupons On Call, where users can search for coupons to local businesses, then map their way to the business. Participating businesses include restaurants, bars and salons.
The coupons, local business directory Welcome Call and weekly classifieds are more accessible than ever before, available in a few clicks at home or on the go, Baker said.
Although the Call’s news team updated the former website daily with breaking news, access to the latest news updates through search engines and Google News was hindered because the previous website published every article only on a weekly basis, with article dates not matching up to when the articles were published.
Now, breaking news is dated the day it is written and prominently featured on the home page through the breaking news ticker across the top. News that broke in the first week of the new website’s existence included a homicide in Affton, a double shooting in Lemay in which a homeowner killed one burglar and wounded another, a burglary in Tapawingo in Sunset Hills and a police shooting in Affton of a suspect armed with a sword and a gun.
The latest news is prominently featured on the site’s home page, and articles dating back to 2003 are accessible through the search function. The layout of the main buttons is more intuitive, with a “Submit Your News” tab front and center for readers to submit announcements for weddings, engagements, anniversaries, births and obituaries, along with letters to the editor or general feedback.
To browse articles and find information, readers can use the drop-down tabs for News, which sorts news from around south county by area — Oakville, Concord, St. Louis County, Crestwood, Sunset Hills, Affton, Lemay, Green Park, Fenton and Missouri. Through tags, readers can access news specific to Jefferson County and Arnold, along with many other topics.
The primary sections always featured on the home page include breaking news, latest news, News — which covers the front page, newsiest articles of the week — along with School News, Community, Crime, Opinions, Business, Sports and Calendar. Obituaries now have a guestbook for loved ones and friends to comment, and feature larger photos and a flag background to honor veterans.
The new website has more mobile-optimized and attractive ads, which should help readers better connect with the local businesses that have kept the Call in business since 1989.
Call Sales Assistant Lynn Connor’s favorite aspect of the new website is how easy it is to find information about each advertiser when an ad catches your attention.
“My favorite part is the fact that you can click on an ad and it brings you right to their website,” she said.
She also appreciates how easily accessible the “Submit Your News” forms are to find on the new website.
As readers navigate the new site, let us know if you have any suggestions or feedback through the “Contact Us” form.
The website should be your place to find out what’s happening in south county for years to come, and we want to know what you think about it.
“The Call had a great website in place for many years, but now we’ve moved to the next generation,” Call Advertising Manager Pat Dillon said.