Welcome to the new ArtsJournal. While we have a new look, you should find most of our familiar features in their usual places. Navigation through the site is essentially the same, as is the way we organize the content.
So what’s different besides the look? Since AJ began in September 99, it’s largely been a hand-made enterprise – lots of cutting and pasting and laborious transferring of content between pages. Since we made up each day’s edition right on the actual pages themselves, the formatting frequently broke, and every few months I had to rebuild the pages from the html up (usually in the middle of the night, working on deadline). The newsletter took hours a week to compile and send, and our newsfeeds to other websites had to be done by hand.
So while AJ looks different, the most radical changes are under the hood – things that you’ll never likely see, but that will make writing AJ every day much easier for us. For that I have to thank the infinitely patient John Hiler, AJ’s new content management guru. John is the brains behind Web Crimson, a terrific content management system he developed for bloggers and which he has adapted for use by sites such as AJ.
The redesign allows us to add a few features, which I’ve outlined below. I’d love to hear what you think – this is still a work in progress, and we’ll be tweaking and fixing things over the next several weeks.
The New AJ
You'll notice that when you click on a headline to a story off the AJ site that it opens in a new window. To get back to AJ, just close the new window.
To our eight core topics – Dance, Media, Publishing, Theatre, Music, People and Issues, we’ve added a new section – Ideas – which we’ll fill with links to thoughtful stories as well as more timeless information, such as this link to an intriguing Flash art animation in the styles of famous artists.
- Threads & ArtsWatch
Threads and ArtsWatch are back. Threads are our short takes on arts stories, pulling together recent writings on a topic and attempting to connect the dots. ArtsWatches are more comprehensive articles surveying a topic in more detail.
Thanks to our new partners at Carnegie Mellon University, we’ll soon be offering AJRadio audio streaming content on ArtsJournal. We’ll be starting with a weekly arts headline news service, featuring regular guest appearances by some of the best arts journalists working today.
We’ve revamped our Letters section, and hope it will become a forum for lively exchanges on the site.
One of our most popular features has been our ‘hot issues’ pages, gathering up stories around particular issues. Our new content management system allows us to group these stories more efficiently, so the archive pages will be more current. We've enamed the section IssueTracks .
- What You’re Reading
For the first time, we can track how many people are clicking on the links to stories we compile every day. Each week we’ll post a list of the five most-clicked stories of the week.
Our free weekly newsletter now has more than 6,000 subscribers. The new content management system enables us to expand our newsletter offerings to daily service.
- Free Version
The free version of the newsletter will now contain links and headlines to all our stories. And you can get it either weekly or daily. Learn more or subscribe here.
- Premium Version
Our premium newsletter will include headlines, links, and descriptions of stories, just as you see them in ArtsJournal. You can order premium versions with just the topic areas in which you’re interested, and you can get daily or weekly service. Consider supporting ArtsJournal with your $28-a-year subscription. Find out more about it here.
ArtsJournal currently supplies newsfeeds to a number of other websites (see here, here, and here for examples). Now our newsfeeds are being automated and our syndication offerings expanded. If you’re interested in adding AJ news to your website, check out here.
Still to Come
In the coming weeks we’ll be adding other features, including an email-this-story-to-a-friend feature, and a section linking directly to top critics and arts writers.