Dear readers,

The Online Citizen’s (TOC) new website was launched on 14 May 2008. The new design is a culmination of over two months of planning, discussions and coding.

While we don a new look, the objectives for TOC remain unchanged: To provide a platform for Singaporeans to share their honest opinions, especially opinions that don’t get aired in the mainstream media.

Layout

Some readers have commented that our new site looks more like a news website than a blog. Well, we hope to achieve the best of both worlds!

With our old site, we had difficulty posting more than one article per day. Whenever we posted multiple new articles, the earlier one would get pushed down into oblivion.

With the new layout, we can now post up to 17 new articles a day. These will all appear on the Home page each with their own headlines and excerpts. Readers can then click on the articles that appeal to them.

We hope this new layout will enable us to accommodate many more writers and contributors, keep content fresh throughout the day and hopefully bring us more readers.

Comments and encouraging participation

Despite our more “news website” look, rest assured that we still view comments as the lifeblood of TOC. The comments section at the end of each article is where our readers come to interact with each other and share their views. So please keep the comments flowing!

Advertisements

TOC is fully volunteer-run. We have not received funding from any sources — all expenses so far have been paid for from our own pockets. Readers may have noticed that we have added some advertisements on our pages. Revenue from the ads goes towards covering the costs of running TOC.

New sections

A common grouse from readers about our old site was that it looked messy and disorganised. We have strived to remedy that with our new website sections:

– Top Story is for the most important headline of the day.

– Main Stories contains links to other important headlines of the day.

– Feature article will be replaced soon to allow us to highlight blog entries by fellow bloggers. Look out for it.

– Our Columnists contains articles from our committed weekly columnists, currently Tan Kin Lian, Leong Sze Hian and Farquhar.

– TOC Extra will be reserved for Chinese, Malay or Tamil articles, or other articles which we may not have a suitable section for. We hope to reach out to a much greater spectrum of readers this way. We welcome writers who wish to contribute articles in the three languages.

– Media Watch will be a special focus on media-related issues, especially the new media.

– Events & Announcements will provide info on upcoming events or announcements from TOC. To have your event featured here, please drop us an email or a press release. We may not be able to publish each and every request and we seek our readers’ understanding on this matter.

– TOC TV will help us step up to the next dimension of media engagement through videos.

As we receive feedback from our readers, we will be making further changes during this transition period. We ask for your patience and understanding.

Help us make TOC better

Launching the new website was just the first step. We recognise that content is still king. It is high quality articles which will continue to bring our readers back to TOC. If you have any suggestions on how we can improve, please let us know.

We are constantly seeking volunteers who wish to contribute their skills and expertise to this endeavour. We welcome writers who have a passion for honest journalism to be part of our team. If you have specialised skills like cartoon drawing, graphic design, web programming, filmmaking and video editing skills, or have expertise in marketing or law, please do contact us too.

Our email is [email protected] . With your support, we will work to grow TOC from strength to strength.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Gerald Giam

Deputy Editor / Web Developer

The Online Citizen

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