For the last 11 years, Civil Beat has been producing a nearly daily flow of news stories, including special projects, multimedia pieces and podcasts.

More than 37,000 stories to be exact. Virtually all of them are still buried somewhere on our website, but often hard to find.

Now, we’re launching a new homepage that we think makes accessing our content a lot easier. And, given that about 70% of Civil Beat’s traffic is now coming from people on their phones, this redesign is also aimed at making the mobile site a lot cleaner and easier to use.

You’ll still find our top story of the day and the latest news stories at the top of the page. If Civil Beat were a newspaper we’d say that was above the fold.

But the rest of the homepage now features sections that house important news and analysis, content that was always lurking under subtle links that were admittedly a bit too obscure, site analytics have shown us.

Screenshot of the last edition of Civil Beat's old homepage
Here’s what the old homepage looked like, just as a reminder. 

Here’s a quick walk-through, going down the page below the fold. You’ll see a new navigation feature that allows you to access more posts in a particular section swiping left to right on mobile, or clicking on the navigation arrows on the website. “See All” takes you further back in time to even more content and to landing pages for various sections.

The Beat: Short news items and staff blog posts, our version of briefs.

Most Popular: A computer-generated compilation of stories, columns and commentary that are getting the most readership on a particular day. That’s generally the most recent stories but, as you can see, a 2019 story on the death of Dog the Bounty Hunter’s wife, Beth Chapman, has apparently been trending on social media.

Our IDEAS section: This is Civil Beat’s opinion section where our regular columnists are housed, along with our IDEAS Essays and Community Voices. Previously you could only see one columnist or article on the homepage — now quite a few pieces are easily accessed. You can find all our IDEAS content including recordings of our online discussion forum by clicking on the “See All” link.

Special Projects: Our journalists spend a lot of time and energy on our deep-dive efforts into myriad subjects, thoroughly examining a lot of issues that are vital to Hawaii. But once they moved off the front page they got buried under a tab at the top of the page called Special Projects. Not many people clicked on it. Now we’re displaying the most recent efforts on the homepage and we’ll be pointing you to more as ongoing coverage adds more stories to the project. “See All” takes you to the landing page.

Data: Civil Beat has compiled databases and visualizations of public employee salaries, financial disclosure reports, police misconduct records and officer-involved shootings. As we expand our data journalism efforts, you’ll find other topics displayed here.

Podcasts: Since 2015, Civil Beat’s multimedia team has produced numerous audio reports including our popular “OFFSHORE” program.

In Case You Missed It: These are the Civil Beat editors’ picks for interesting content we like and you might not see if we didn’t point it out. This feature allows us to surface everything from a developing project like the Community Scrapbook or our Hawaiian language section, to oldies but goodies like “The Last Wild Place” special report on the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument to one of our all-time most popular stories on why so many people reverse park in Hawaii. We’ll change these out frequently, so a good reason to cruise our homepage often.

Newsletters: Our newsletters including our daily Morning Beat to keep up with news on a variety of topics. Again, links to these popular items were previously hard to find.

Tips and Support: The last section includes a couple of forms — one that allows you to send news tips, including anonymously, to our reporters and editors. Another provides a quick way to support Civil Beat with charitable contributions.

And we’re still keeping the links at the very top and very bottom of the page that take you to much more information about Civil Beat itself as well as the Archive section (top right) where you can find every story published by Civil Beat since May 2010.

screenshot of the civil beat's new 2021 homepage
Here’s the new homepage. Note the use of sections and the ability to scroll left and right. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, we’re still fine-tuning this new homepage. We’ll be adding an events section, for instance, to make it easier for people to sign up for upcoming online events and find links to videos of previous discussions and presentations. The main news section still needs a link to the Archives and previous days’ stories. But we’ll get there. Shoutout to our design/development team at Mantle.

We know it’s a big change and many people, including me, were pretty comfortable with the old site. But we’re hoping this will be a whole lot more useful and keep people more engaged with the issues and events that are becoming harder to keep track of.

Please let us know what you think, including any suggestions for improvement. Email us at news@civilbeat.org.

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