Lively week tests new Olympian website

jredecker@theolympian.comJuly 21, 2013 

It’s been a heck of a week in South Sound.

Last Sunday, much of Tumwater was locked down while police negotiated with an armed man who had taken his ex-girlfriend hostage. Patience paid off, and no one was hurt during the nine-hour incident.

Then Tuesday afternoon, a chaotic fight with two stabbing victims broke out in the middle of downtown Olympia, just as people were getting ready to leave work. Roads were closed, people were held outside a police perimeter, law enforcement searched for victims and/or suspects who were reported to be bloodied. A bus driver and her passengers were caught in the middle of it all. When it was over, two people were in the hospital, downtown sidewalks were marred with blood, and hundreds of people were asking, “what’s going on in our town?”

Meanwhile, the biggest summer festival in the region, Lakefair, kicked off as planned Wednesday and culminates tonight with the traditional Sunday fireworks. More people are at Heritage Park every day during the annual summer festival than during all other events combined.

Thursday, there was an armed bank robbery and a report of a domestic conflict that resulted in a man being hospitalized with a stab wound to his neck.

But most shocking was when people woke up Friday to find that the Oyster House, one of the most famous waterfront buildings in Olympia, had been destroyed by fire. Juxtaposed to the food booths and carnival of Lakefair, it seems surreal.

All of this has certainly kept us busy at The Olympian. Reporters, photographers, Web producers and editors worked early and late to get the latest information online and in print.

However, a run of news like this is a blessing and a curse. Breaking news is the backbone of the industry and we pride ourselves on getting you the information you need. But, these events also are hard on the community, rocking our perception of what kind of town we live in and creating uncertainty about what’s going to happen next.

We’ll keep working to answer those questions as the dust settles. Let us know your concerns.

In the midst of it all, we launched our new website, which has been redesigned to allow us to post faster, use photos more effectively and put more news in front of readers. The events this week certainly put it to the test. By midday Friday, we had more than 50,000 page views, double what we get on a normal weekday.

We know the site is a change, and encourage readers to use the feedback form on the home page at www.theolympian.com. I’ve been answering questions there and we are all making notes of things that we could tweak down the road.

As always, thanks for reading.

Jerre Redecker is the senior editor of The Olympian. You can reach her at jredecker@theolympian.com.

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