Friday, March 23, 2007
New members join the Web Team
The Mosquito's Web Team is expanding. Three new members recently joined the team that starts working as soon as the hard-copy newspaper is electronically sent to the printer on Wednesday afternoon.
Mike Butler, Deborah Kablotsky and Priscilla Stevens are new "Webbers," joining original members Susan Emmons, Betsy Fell, Verna Gilbert, Paul Hackbarth, Mary Hult, Rik Pierce and Tim Pierce. Kablotsky and Stevens are both Mosquito reporters and Stevens is also an assistant editor.
It doesn't take ten people hunched over their computers to produce the online paper. Each Wednesday afternoon, after the Mosquito goes to press, one or two Web staff spring into action.
Two-part Web Team
The Web Team is divided into two groups. Emmons, Gilbert, Hult and Stevens comprise the DIETers (Data Import-Export Team) that converts Mosquito text to HTML, the Web language. Butler and Kablotsky, with Rik Pierce, are the Dream Team (they use Dreamweaver editing software). This group optimizes and inserts photographs into the HTML pages, reformats tables and schedules, and reorganizes the electronic paper. It is then sent to the server maintained by Tim Pierce and by Thursday evening, the current week's paper is ready for prime time. Web Team members are volunteers, and each usually serves a few hours each month putting the paper online.
Benefits of Web version
The Mosquito has been online since June 2001, already a lengthy lifespan in new-age technology years. An article in the March 19, 2004, Mosquito ("The Mosquito's Web Team: DIETers and a MADAM") described the many benefits of a Web presence — late-breaking news can be posted, photos appear in glorious color, a searchable index of the archives makes research simple and the Mosquito is available wherever you are traveling and have Internet access.
Since March 2004, several innovations have been made by the Web Team that might not be evident to the casual user. Mary Hult, chair of the Web Team, reports that they are "looking to improve the search engine, resulting in speedier, more on-target results. Increasingly, late-breaking news, such as Town Meeting and Town Election results, are posted on the Web before the Mosquito appears in mailboxes on Friday. Classified ads are now online and a link has been added to definitions of such terms as Chapter 40B, Conservation Restrictions, and Free Cash.
Kablotsky is enthusiastic about her new role at the Mosquito. "I enjoy and frequently use the Web to get the majority of my information, and figure that others might do so as well," she wrote in an e-mail. "How great is it to open your laptop, anywhere in the world, enter www.carlislemosquito.org and connect with the town? I really love being a part of making that possible."
© 2007 The Carlisle Mosquito