The Baron: rejuvenation
Wednesday 7 May 2014
Welcome to The Baron, now upgraded with a bold new look and more features to help you stay in touch with Reuters people past and present.
If you are a returning visitor, at first glance it may seem that little has changed. That is by design. This, the fourth iteration of the site, brings it up to date with the best of web design without imposing on the uncluttered look and feel of the previous one. Most (but not all) of the content of the previous edition has been transferred. The rest will follow soon.
If you are a new visitor you will find much to explore: The Baron is the most comprehensive online resource for topical and historical information about Reuters and those who helped to develop it over more than a century and a half.
The Baron is now fully responsive. It uses a flexible grid system that adapts the layout automatically to mobile devices or computers, whatever their shape, size or aspect ratio. Whether it be on a smartphone, tablet or computer, in your hand or on your desk, content added over the past six years remains available. It’s merely packaged and presented a little differently. It includes more than 1,000 news items, more than 200 items about people, 26 editorials, 29 columns, nearly 700 letters, more than 200 directory listings, and 40 articles from the archive. More is yet to come, including lists of hundreds of books about Reuters, by Reuters people, or relevant to Reuters. This will be done over the coming days and weeks.
Hundreds of people visit The Baron every day. They include past and present employees of Reuters and Thomson Reuters as well as others interested in the news and information business. Some check it more than once a day. The average number of pageviews is more than 1,000 a day.
The Baron remains the leading independent website for news and information about Reuters and its people past and present
Since the launch of The Baron in 2008 people have come to expect to be able to read web content on mobile devices as easily as they do on laptop or desktop computers. Six years ago, smartphones were not so smart as those we now take for granted as essential tools to help us stay connected at any time and at any place. Six years ago, tablets had not been invented. Now one in four visitors comes to The Baron on a mobile device. If you are reading this on a smartphone you will see that the site appears in a way that makes the most of the mobile web. If you do not have a smartphone but wish to see what it looks like on one, simply reduce the width of your browser window to the minimum possible.
In re-thinking the design of The Baron and re-building it on stronger foundations, the intention has been to keep the clean appearance and intuitive ease of navigation inherent in the original format. While the underlying architecture that holds it all together is new, many of the changes are invisible to readers. Their purpose is to make the site’s production more efficient.
The mail section has been renamed comment, reflecting its content more accurately. Commentary - opinion pieces by named writers - is now called columns. The search engine is better, and if you have an RSS reader installed you can subscribe to a direct feed of updates. Sharing, e-mailing and printing individual items are all easier too. The scrolling ticker now appears at the top of every page instead of just Home. It can be moved up, down or halted. Clicking on a headline in the ticker will take you directly to that item. A navigation bar at the bottom of every item enables you to move forward to the next item in that section or back to the previous one. And, no matter where you are on the site, a contact form is always nearby so that you can send a message to the editor quickly and easily.
What has not changed is that The Baron remains the leading independent website for news and information about Reuters and its people past and present. News and information about Reuters’ parent company, Thomson Reuters, is here too.
Social engagement is important for many of the growing number of visitors to The Baron. A presence is maintained on social media networks Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn where you can connect with nearly 4,000 people through Baron affinity groups. More are joining every day.
The Baron is independent of any corporate ownership, sponsorship or advertising. It costs nothing to access. That means it must rely on voluntary donations from readers. Many people have kindly made donations. Their support is received most gratefully. If you like The Baron’s new look and enjoy exploring all that it has to offer, please give whatever you can to help sustain it and defray development and ongoing maintenance costs. You can help at the Support The Baron panel on the right.
Thank you and, once again, welcome. Now read on. ■