Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pros and Cons of The Durham News Service Website

I’ve had time to thoroughly test-drive the new website for the Durham News Service. Here are a handful of pros and cons:dns_screencap


  • It is very easy to add DNS as a tab on your browser (go to the top left, click on tools, then internet options and add this URL by coping and pasting into the list of home page tabs.)

  • Well laid out with DNS releases, new accolades and community organizational changes on the left, buttons for blogs, factoids and the all inclusive community event calendar in the center and a feed of news stories about Durham down the right side.

  • DCVB staff, who facilitate the DNS on behalf of all Durham messengers is updating the site now several times a day.

  • You can just check the tab on your browser whenever you want an update or you can subscribe to receive updates via email or RSS feed etc.

  • This is definitely going to make eNews obsolete and soon make real-time information possible. Savvy communities are already eyeing it as a best practice but again DCVB gives Durham a 20 second head start.

  • The DNS is evidence of yet another innovative DCVB strategic partnership, this time with Zift to get the real time feed of news stories about Durham from local and national sources.


  • Works well enough on my iPhone but DCVB needs to push ahead with mobile-specific formatting.

  • The need will never end for DCVB staff to get quicker and quicker at updates while as with any paradigm shift, continuing to produce and distribute the same information in older formats like eNews until everyone “gets it” (same reason we still have ‘80s fax technology around.)

  • Only time will tell how rapidly other messenger organizations will catch on and increase the feed of information to the site. I suspect a couple stubbornly won’t “get it” or somewhat threatened, will try instead to reinvent the wheel as one or two still seem to do with the all inclusive community calendar and the overarching Durham brand, two other tools designed to save time and money for other messenger organizations.

  • Alas, this won’t overcome the resistance of far too many in top positions to the simple act of “reading.” Or is it they just don’t want others to read preferring the push and shove of lobbying? As I was taught handling horses on a ranch, “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.” As a society we just can’t afford decision-makers who won’t read.

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