Rise and shine! Make sure to check your electronic device for the Horizon’s recently revamped website!
Since last fall, the Horizon has worked hard to make its paper more accessible to Westmont students. This has come in the form of overhauling its past website. After months of working, the site finally went live last November.
These changes can largely be attributed to work done by students Hannah Webster, Jordan Douthit, and Wesley Stenzel. Such an enormous task needed to be done by rotation and specialty. Jordan Douthit, the Horizon’s current website editor, recalled, “I inherited the website from Hannah, so I already had a foundation to go off of. Since this role is still relatively new to me as well, I have done only minor alterations to it so far. Hannah really did most of the heavy lifting and I’m excited to continue making improvements upon that work.”
This doesn’t mean the print version is leaving. It can still be expected every week. However, online presence can be everything these days, especially in terms of reaching the public. “Lots of times we put stories out there and there isn’t a chance for the audience to come back and share their opinions. So, we’re really trying to increase the ways that the audience can interact with what’s being published,” noted Editor-in-Chief Emily Washburn. With a formal website, the hope is that students can comment themselves about the stories shared every week.
Accessibility doesn’t have to end at Sycamore Canyon Road. “I think this website will be great for connecting our community across borders. People abroad can still be in contact with what is going on in our immediate community, as well as parents and alumni,” Douthit noted.
As of yet, the community’s response has been positive. “I like it. I think it’s a good way to have a more accessible medium that students would actually use. I feel like a lot of times we leave the paper lying around for a while or just leave it on the floor and it seems almost wasteful. Now, since most of the time we get our news online, this is a way to save waste and encourage people to read more because it seems people prefer to read things online,” remarked Clark Senator Michael Kong.
Kong isn’t wrong. Print media in general is declining. Major news outlets report declines in print circulation while web media offers accessibility for consumers leading to an increase in online subscriptions. According to Pew Research Center, weekday print circulation in 2018 decreased by 12% in the United States while digital viewership has increased by 6%. Thus, the change became a necessary step to keeping the Horizon up to date with consumer trends. Eventually, Washburn believes the Horizon will become an online-based platform. “The goal is to rely more and more on the website every week then transition to a completely web-based platform. That would include social media, online reporting (one to two stories daily), and a biweekly paper. It takes a long time for any organization to transition but the website is ideal because it allows people to interact with the content quickly.”
As the Horizon continues to grows clearer for Westmont students, the added benefit of the website can be sentimental as well. “As the website progresses and becomes better, it’ll also be a great place to look back at what was/is important to us and our community,” said Douthit. This idea of rememberance can be well documented through print. But to have years of stories and information at our fingertips years down the line is definitely worth having.