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New website design and online features up and running

On Sept. 15, KSBA successfully launched the new association website, including both a redesign and added service functions for our members and online visitors.

 

Reaction has been very positive so far and we welcome inquiries, especially if you can’t find a helpful feature that you had used in the previous website design. While most Web pages that have been brought into the new design should be easily accessible from the service toolbar at the top of the home page, please contact us if you can’t find something that was an aid to you in the past.

 

Change in eNews Headline Service

 

One change that has resulted in numerous inquiries relates to the service we call eNews.

 

We began the news service as a hard-copy service back in 1993, clipping and pasting articles from newspapers, and selling subscriptions to school districts and other agencies.  About five years ago, due to staff reductions and budget issues, we had to find ways to reduce costs. So we began providing the headlines via e-mail to subscribers. About that same time, we were in a redesign mode for our association’s website. We opted to devote a significant amount of home page space to the headline service, which also allowed nonpaying visitors to access the service for free.

From time to time, some of our paying subscribers asked why they were paying to get the twice-daily news updates delivered by e-mail while others could simply go to the website and access the stories for free.  Our subscription service also has an important element not available on the website – a weekly “story text” service. Recipients get a Word document with the texts of all Kentucky stories collected that week. This creates an easily searchable option for subscribers who want to go back and find a story if they’ve deleted the original e-mail with the headlines, or if more than a week has passed, since the website replaces headlines weekly.

KSBA’s new website design did not have space on the home page for the full set of headlines.  Facing that change, and the question of fairness to our paying subscribers, we chose to take a sort of middle ground that is also being used by a significant number of mainstream news media outlets: the top three stories of each news cycle are posted for free, but full access is by subscription only.

Some people have asked why we didn’t continue to provide the service for free to those who are willing to “go and get the news” rather than have it sent to them in the morning and afternoon e-mails.  Aside from the fairness issue for paying subscribers, there is a significant cost factor to KSBA to provide this service.  Several hours are spent each day searching for the stories, and that includes most Saturdays and Sundays (in order not to miss stories that rotate off a media website after a day). Additionally, KSBA increasingly must pay subscriptions to access many news media outlets. We feel that we need to provide as much comprehensive coverage of Kentucky’s school news across the state as possible, so we can’t just take the free stories that are posted, but must pay to access those on subscription-only media sites.

We hope this additional explanation is helpful and welcome any further inquiries directly to Brad Hughes bhughes@ksba.org at 800-372-2962.