OK, with the power of hindsight maybe yesterday wasn't the greatest day to roll out our brand new website, PhillyDailyNews.com. But consider this: The fact that me and my remarkable friends and co-workers at the Daily News threw outselves headlong into the horrors of the Boston Marathon attack and finding out how it affected people from the Philadelphia area literally from the second we saw the first post on Twitter (5 minutes before CNN even had the news) -- and dropped our plans to aggressively promote the new site -- gives you an insight into what really matters to us.
People here certainly hope that the kind of take-no-prisoners approach we take to the big stories also matters to you, the reader. The new websites -- which are available to paid subscribers (which can include our new weekend edition) -- are basically our free-market approach that will save on-the-ground reporting (by that I mean things like why there are so many guns on the street, not "the big story tonight is unseasonably warm spring weather") for Philadelphia and its immediate suburbs. If this experiment doesn't work, in a couple of years no one will be complaining about having to pay for quality journalism. People will be complaining how hard it is to find out what the mayor or City Council are really up to.
The new subscription-only websites are a work in progress, but what I think I'm going to like about them -- and what I think readers will learn to like -- is the secret sauce of good local journalism, which is a sense of community. We're taking steps to improve the commenting experience for readers who want to chime in. For my part, I plan to take part much more actively in the comments section, but only in my work as it appears on PhillyDailyNews.com, not the blog posts or other items as they appear on Philly.com. So that will be my new hangout -- and hopefully it will become yours as well.
You can also get a "day-pass" to read the new section if you buy a newspaper at the newsstand. Check out the site with today's pass: S87Y