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New CU site 'faster and more friendly'

October 10, 2012
From staff reports , Weirton Daily Times

STEUBENVILLE - In a further effort to streamline and enhance their online presence, the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times will introduce their revised photo-sharing website - CU.

"Site users will notice it's faster and more friendly," said Alex Marshall, publisher of both papers. "It's because of the up-to-date software and a revamped user interface."

The conversion will take place in the next few days.

"We believe this is a big step in a new direction for the site," said Ross Gallabrese, executive editor. "Our CU site was always popular, but now users will be able to find what they want faster."

The new CU site will be at the same location and still be accessible from both the or websites.

Since the time CU was created, the dynamic of how photos are shared has changed. Now most people share personal photos through sites such as Facebook and Instagram.

"We decided the new CU will feature only photos produced by our newspapers," Marshall said. "The new software should allow us to upload photos in a more timely fashion and allow the reader to view them without having to wait a long time for photos or galleries to load."

Gallabrese said key ingredients from the old CU site will remain. "Readers will still be able to view and, if desired, purchase photos from local events. Often, our photographers take more photos than what appear in our newspapers," Gallabrese noted.

Along with prints, photos featured on the site can be put on mouse pads, coffee cups, T-shirts, magnets, coasters or made into puzzles among other offerings.

To make the site more robust and to streamline the presentation, some elements of the old CU site will be eliminated.

"The switch is basically a fresh start, so photos that existed on the old CU will not be a part of the new one," said Michael D. McElwain, online editor for the newspapers. "Anyone wanting to purchase photos from the old site must do so within the next few days."

Once the site is switched, the old photos will not be available.

The revamped CU site is part of a comprehensive effort to upgrade the newspapers' online presence.

The Herald-Star and Weirton Daily Times sites had some layout changes, and both papers introduced free iPhone applications.

"We want to make sure we deliver the in-depth, comprehensive news and sports reports in a way that users want and appreciate," Marshall said.

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