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At long last, a new website for the Notebook

Some notes on our redesign.

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Internet eons have passed since the Notebook launched a proper website in 2009. Six years later, we have done our first major redesign.

About time, you say? We couldn’t agree more. With a deep breath, we welcome you to the new thenotebook.org.

Today, we unveil a better, faster, stronger website that’s the final product of a year’s worth of information-gathering and design.

Let’s go over a few of the biggest changes first.

The homepage. Some will mourn our departure from a homepage that presents articles in reverse-chronological order, because they fear that the freshest content requires some searching for, where once it could be easily found atop the page. Don’t fret, Notebook power users, we have you covered. All our news and opinion and morning news roundups can be read in that fashion here, in what we have called The Feed.

Devotees of our Notes from the news will continue to get their daily dose of Philly education news, either in their inbox or on our site. But to keep readers apprised of important news that breaks between weekday mornings, we have added a new feature called The Latest, a scrolling feed of noteworthy education-related stories.

We love the Notebook‘s commenting community for its lively debate. But an avalanche of daily spam has been flooding our site and disrupting conversations for the last year. You will be pleased to know that by switching to the platform Disqus, whose resources are vast, our spamming troubles (we hope) will be a thing of the past. So please say your goodbyes to "Finance News," "european soccer," and "Recycled Building Material," along with the other unwelcome commenters.

Commenters who registered accounts on our old site will need to register new accounts with Disqus, or use an existing account if you have one. While we will allow people to comment without a verified account, those comments won’t be seen until and unless approved by a Notebook moderator. That way, drive-by commenters will be deprived their thrill of throwing toxic commenter grenades into the conversation.

Our advice? Keep it simple: For an unfettered commenting experience, use a Disqus account.

Those who frequently look back on older Notebook articles for research or for background on current events will find that some articles haven’t made the journey to our new site intact. Sadly, the importing process was not a seamless one. To migrate our articles exactly as they were would have been a gargantuan task of a costly order. As a small, nonprofit news organization, we simply could not afford this. As a result, you might encounter a few article oddities in the form of broken links, missing blockquotes, or the occasional uncanny feeling of phantom charts. We will fix these to the best of our ability.

In addition, as with any new launch, little issues will be found here and there. We will be ironing out the kinks throughout the next few weeks. As we do, your help could hasten this process by sending us a note about whatever problem you’ve encountered at feedback@thenotebook.org.

Finally, thanks to P’unk Avenue, our web design firm, for their generous and able work. We booked a room with them at the hotel and got upgraded to a fancy suite – which is to say, they’ve gone above and beyond.

We hope that this is just another step in our continuing work to inform our readers as best we can.

Thanks,

David Limm, online editor

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