By the time you read this I hope you’ve had an opportunity to explore JPR’s new website. There are a number of features about the new site that I’d like to highlight.
Sense of Place – The main theme of the site features several black and white photos contributed by regional photographers. These photos rotate within the main site banner and highlight places that make the State of Jefferson a special place to live, work and create and listen to great public radio. To start, we’re featuring images of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Elizabethan stage, Crater Lake, Mount Shasta, Redding’s Sundial Bridge, the Coquille River Lighthouse and a coastal shot taken near Brookings. We’ll be able to update these images as time goes by, keeping the site fresh with other beautiful images submitted by local artists and giving our site a unique sense of place – after all, the State of Jefferson is a state of mind.
A Focus on Multimedia Content – One of the main reasons we’ve dedicated the significant staff and volunteer resources needed to completely retool the site is to enable the site to function as a new multimedia “channel” for JPR content. When we create an inspired Open Air Live Session, a provocative regional news feature or a spirited episode of the Jefferson Exchange we’d like you to be able to access it easily at ijpr.org when it’s not convenient for you to listen to the radio. The new site is a rocket ship built for audio (and video), has really amazing content sorting capability and will enable us to better curate our content in ways that make it accessible for visitors. While there will be several directions from which you can access content, our main areas with revolve around JPR News, NPR News, JPR Music and JPR Classical. In these areas, we will collect and share with you things that are interesting, enlightening and informative -- just like we’ve done on the radio for over four decades.
Sharing Content – By adopting a common “backend” for the site that is also being used by our colleagues at KLCC in Eugene, OPB in Portland, KUOW and KPLU in Seattle and most other stations in the Northwest we are able to share content seamlessly and make better use of staff resources. In addition, because the main site architecture has been developed by NPR’s Digital Services team, we are able to efficiently select and feature content created by NPR that has particular regional relevance for our listeners. By solving some of the technological impediments to sharing content we have also now made real progress in establishing common standards and “business” rules with our sister Northwest stations, allowing managers to get out of the way and empower journalists and inspired programmers to share ideas and work together to create a better product for our listeners.
Updated Technology and Mobile Ready – When we last created our website, with the generous support of Ashland’s Project A, mobile phones were used for talking. Now, as smartphones and tablets have become ubiquitous, our site hasn’t evolved to serve these new users very well. The new ijpr.org now knows the type of device you’re using and optimizes our site for that device. As new devices are developed, as they surely will be, the site will be able to more nimbly adapt to these emerging technologies. The new ijpr.org also has a great new “Listen Live” player that works on all platforms (PC, Mac, Chromebooks and others) and we’ve developed brand new free iPhone and Android apps built specifically to listen to JPR on the go.
Over many years, JPR has adapted to numerous technological and social changes to serve our listeners with essential information and programs that celebrate music and the arts. We’ll continue to look ahead, embracing new opportunities made possible by emerging technologies in the digital age. The new ijpr.org is a step in the right direction.
Paul Westhelle, Executive Director