If you’ve visited the Working Waterfront website over the past month, you may have noticed a redesign.

The change is the beginning of a new direction for Working Waterfront, which continues to circulate 40,000 printed papers per month. The commitment to produce an outstanding monthly newspaper remains. But with a redesigned website, there is now the ability to offer readers breaking stories as well as original content that can only be found on the Web.

“It’s long been our hope that we could produce a more immediate product, and the Web is the best way to do that,” said David Platt, outgoing Working Waterfront editor. Platt said the fire on Matinicus that destroyed the post office is an example of how breaking stories can be covered using the new site. Correspondent Steve Cartwright wrote a story that was posted the day after the fire, with an update posted May 2 followed by further information in this month’s printed paper. Breaking news is now posted on the website under the heading, “Online exclusives”.

In addition to breaking news, there will also be stories and new content (such as blogs from islanders) on the redesigned website that will not run in the newspaper. The website is no longer tied to the schedule of the monthly newspaper; content is dated when it is posted.

“Our goal is make the website its own destination,” said David Tyler, Working Waterfront’s incoming editor. “The website is another way, along with the newspaper and the Island Journal, to let readers know what is going on. Whatever the medium, our goal is the same: to act as a forum for islanders and coastal readers and keep them informed about the latest issues.”

For the past year, several people at the Island Institute worked to redesign both the Working Waterfront and the Island Institute websites. This challenging project was accomplished by Kristin Collins, technology coordinator, Nancy Carter, vice president of knowledge management, Bridget Leavitt, design coordinator and Cyrus Moulton, knowledge management project coordinator. Digital Goat, of Bath, developed the site and is responsible for content management.

“The site offers an opportunity to easily navigate the enormous amount of historical content provided by Working Waterfront and is now more easily connected to the work done by the Island Institute,” said Collins. When a reader opens up a story on new lobster rules on Monhegan Island, for example, that page also features links to other Working Waterfront stories about the lobster industry. There are also links to work that the Island Institute is doing on Monhegan and in the lobstering industry. Island Institute pages also link to work the institute is doing and to Working Waterfront stories.

“The new site is easy to search and easier to use,” said Collins.

Let us know what you think of the new website. Send comments to David Tyler at: dtyler@islandinstitute.org.