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Still waiting on theDMonline.com...

BY ALEX MCDANIEL, editor-in-chief

As many of you may remember, last week The Daily Mississippian published daily reminders and even an advertisement in our publication promoting today’s relaunching of our Web site, thedmonline.com.

After months of uncertainty and countless delays concerning The Daily Mississippian’s online identity, it came as no surprise Sunday evening when we discovered that administrative issues and miscommunication between The DM staff and the technical development staff at the Student Media Center has prevented the launch once again ... sort of.

While our new Web site exists, it cannot immediately be accessed by our web address. Until we are able to successfully acquire our domain name (http://thedmonline.com), the new site can be accessed at http://olemisslife.com.

Before you get too confused, allow me to explain the current situation we are in.

By now, most of our readership has likely noticed that The DM’s Web site has been inactive for quite some time. Although visitors have been able to get to the site through the traditional address, they are immediately redirected to a Wordpress blog where our content has been living for months.

When the switch occurred, phone calls and e-mails began pouring in asking the question the editorial staff was unable to answer - Where is the Web site?

We were accused of hiding information from the public when in fact, we honestly had no idea why we were unable to upload content to thedmonline.com.

However, keeping with my pledge as editor of this paper to be as completely transparent with our readers as possible, I finally have something resembling an
explanation.

At the time our Web site became inactive, TheDMOnline was serviced through an online web publisher that manages many college newspaper Web sites in the nation.

Last year, The DM was notified about an upgrade the publisher was preparing to implement which was designed to increase our potential to produce better Web content for our readers.

However, the upgrade was dependent on a contract agreement with The DM as well as the other college newspapers involved.

Although we didn’t sign the contract, the publisher upgraded our Web site and we began experiencing many technical problems out of our control.

It eventually got to the point where our online editors were unable to upload any content to the site, prompting us to begin pushing our content to the blog so we could continue having a version of our newspaper online.

When my tenure began in Summer 2009, the professional staff at the Student Media Center decided to create a new Web site in the hopes of retaining our
domain name, thedmonline.com.

However, the web publisher refused to give us back the name our readers have associated with The Daily Mississippian for over a decade.

Weeks followed and as The DM’s online editor worked with the professional staff at the media center to create a new Web presence for our newspaper, all we could do was wait until the product was finished, despite the fact that we still had not gained back ownership of thedmonline.com.

Last week, miscommunication between the professional staff and The DM editorial staff led us to believe that the site would be launched today with our original address.

Our former web publisher finally gave up our domain Wednesday and we can do nothing but wait for the final switch to take place.

So, while our Web site is ready, it cannot yet be accessed by our address.

We know this is yet another inconvenience for our readers, but The DM’s online editor and the media center development team are doing everything in their power to ensure the switch happens as soon as possible.

Perhaps many of you are thinking this is much ado about nothing. After all, the paper gets printed every day - Why is The DM so passionate about a Web site?

To put it simply, newspapers must evolve into a source of multimedia-driven content, or they will no longer exist.

A printed newspaper is limited to using text, photos and design to best tell a story.

However, with the technology available to us as journalists, it often takes much more than the printed word to adequately tell a story.

The Web site will give us the opportunity to provide many more components that will enhance our daily newspaper in order to give you, the reader, more in-depth information about the content we publish.

Also, breaking news and sports coverage will be further enhanced by resources that allow us to give you updated information the second it happens.

We need this Web site in order to do our jobs and best serve our readership.

I ask for nothing more than your patience in the next few weeks as we work out the kinks and undergo training to learn how to best use the resources we have available.

Despite today’s obvious setback, I can promise we are working as hard as we can to make the transition as seamless as possible.

You can now access our new Web site at http://www.olemisslife.com until thedmonline.com is officially ours again.

Believe me - you will be among the first to know when that happens.