Thursday, April 17, 2014

West Point News

Something old, something new... Both help share information

West Point News' Editorial

Something old, something new...
The West Point News is a big fan of our readers. Always has been and always will be.
And we appreciate feedback on our efforts. Even when it’s critical of something we did or that we let fall through the cracks. Those cracks, some weeks, can seem like bottomless chasms because of too many events to attend but not enough people on staff to make all of them.
This week we received some feedback that we took to heart. A reader wrote that he missed the Days Gone By column that once appeared regularly in the West Point News. It’s a feature we attempted to bring back about a year ago, but somewhere along the way our best intentions were sidetracked.
After thinking about the feature a bit more, and after hearing from the reader who felt it was an important piece of West Point’s history that others still enjoy, we have decided to find a way to resurrect Days Gone By.
We haven’t found a home for the column yet. It may end up on this page, on page 2B or somewhere on the People pages, but we’ll make an effort to get it somewhere each week, perhaps even as soon as next week.
The something new can be found this week with our obituaries (page 9A). It is the inclusion of QR codes with some of the obituaries.
Faithful readers of the West Point News will recall a story we did in mid-November about West Point Monument and what Earl and Mary Boston are doing with that technology to help families better preserve and share stories of deceased loved ones.
The QR code, which looks like a square box with a bunch of scribbles, is the link that allows users of smartphones and tablets (iPads, Nexus7, Galaxy Tab, etc.)  to scan the code and connect to a website that can include photos, videos and other items of interest about the deceased.
Not every family or mortuary will want to make use of the QR code, so not every obituary will include one.
When Stokely Funeral Home and West Point Monument first approached us about placing QR codes with the obituaries in the newspaper, we were apprehensive. Truth be told, we’re still a bit unsure about the idea. For one thing, we aren’t even sure the codes will scan correctly when printed on newsprint, so we’re gambling a bit this week that it works.
After sitting down with Earl and Mary Boston and learning much more about the codes and the websites and the possibilities, we decided to give them a try. It’s still a trial, mind you.
The newspaper industry has evolved much in the past 10 years, but the main objective is still to provide information. By making use of the QR codes, we are providing a link to much more information about a person’s life. That can’t be bad.
The QR code, no doubt, is meaningless to many of our readers. But many of our readers also will make use of them. And some may use them to open a new door for their parents and grandparents, just as we may be opening a new door for using them in newspapers. That can’t be bad, either.

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