Your turn: grab a hammer and help build Echo’s future

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Upending the Basin rotationYou are reading a milestone — the 3,000th post on Great Lakes Echo.

And we’re celebrating with a new look.

Echo recently turned five years old. That’s ancient for Internet publications, particularly those that produce news.

But this facelift is no middle-aged desperate grasp to retain youth.

Rather, we’re setting the foundation for another five years of producing and fostering original environmental news stories about the Great Lakes region.

Here’s what you’ll notice:

  • It’s easier to find recent content.
  • It’s easier to find particular kinds of content.
  • It’s easier to comment.
  • Echo works far better on phones, tablets, laptops, desktops.

And gee, we sure look good on all of those platforms.

Here’s what you likely won’t notice but that  makes things better for us:

  • Improved security. We had become a target of hacks that slowed performance, discouraged traffic and caused all kind of behind-the-scenes headaches.
  • Improved copy handling. The less time we process news stories, the more time we have to report them.
  • Improvements making it easier for search engines to find and better index Echo stories.
  • Improved tech support. We moved to a commercial server better able to focus on us.

As always with Echo, this project is an unusual combination of education and outreach at Michigan State University’s School of Journalism.

The nitty gritty job of upgrading, migrating and rethinking what we do is an IT Project Management capstone project at MSU’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

So a special hat tip goes to the student team of Zulhaj Choudhury, Christian Fincher, Justin Hopton and Jackson Robb. Another goes to their instructors, MSU professors Constantinos K. Coursaris and Wietske van Osch.

And yet another goes to the Investigative News Network that developed the theme that we adapted for our use. INN is a great group of non-profit news services pioneering the digital news landscape.

We’re not done. We’ve got enough here to launch. But there is still work ahead.

That’s where you come in.

Help us flag the glitches to iron out. Suggest improvements. We’re aware that we still have news categories to repopulate.  But what else can’t you do that you’d like to?

The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism launched Echo five years ago. But it’s readers who have been building this unique news community ever since.

Grab a metaphorical hammer and help build the foundation for the next five years. Suggestions are welcome in the comment section below.

Echo Editor David Poulson is the associate director of the Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. Upending the basin is an occasional column about reporting on the environment.

2 thoughts on “Your turn: grab a hammer and help build Echo’s future

  1. Congratulations and thank you! Echo is an important outlet for environmental news stories.

  2. Congratulations Dave on five years and 3,000 posts.

    And thanks for the opportunity to make a contribution.

    Gary Wilson

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