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Monday 30 May 2016 | Published in Regional


PACIFIC – Pacific Islands Report (PIR) – a comprehensive source for news and features from the Pacific region – last week unveiled its new website.

Since its founding by award-winning journalist Al Hulsen 19 years ago, the basic functionality and design of PIR had remained mostly unchanged for that time.

“The content we delivered was greatly enhanced under the editorship of Peter Wagner, who also introduced our daily news brief email feature, but the website itself remained fixed in the early 2000s,” a PIR news release says.

“The software being used to create the website was antiquated and the design was, quite frankly, very stale,” said Scott Kroeker, webmaster of PIR since 1999 and editor for the past 5 years.

“With this redesign, PIR will continue providing the wide coverage of news, commentary, and analysis from across the Pacific islands region that our readers have come to expect.

“Microsoft hasn’t supported that product for a number of years, making it vulnerable to hackers and crashes, and so much has happened in web design that we just had to make a change.”

The redesign was funded by a grant from the Hawai‘i-based Matson Foundation.

The new platform will allow the PIR editor to focus more time on identifying quality content, the statement says.

“We have tried to retain the simple, clean design for which we are known, while incorporating more images and other functionality commonly used on other modern news sites.

“Most notable is that the new site is ‘mobile-friendly’, automatically adjusting the display to whatever device visitors are using to access the site.

“With the explosion of mobile phone technology, especially in the Pacific islands, this is a must to remain current.

“Readers can also now rate and comment on articles while more easily sharing them on social media, increasing the interactivity of the site. Subscribers to our daily brief will also see some changes with the email.”

The Pacific Islands Report also maintains an archive of nearly 100,000 articles from 1997-2016 which has been rolled into the new design with a much more user friendly search engine, the website says.