Pacific Islands Report Unveils Long-Needed Update

Matson Foundation grant supports major site overhaul

By Scott Kroeker, PIR Editor/Webmaster

HONOLULU, HI (Pacific Islands Report, May 23, 2016)—Thanks to a generous grant from the Matson Foundation, the Pacific Islands Report today unveils its new website. Since its founding by award winning journalist Al Hulsen 19 years ago, the basic functionality and design of PIR has remained mostly unchanged. The content we delivered was greatly enhanced under the editorship of Peter Wagner—who also introduced of our daily news brief email feature---but the website itself remained fixed in the early 2000s. 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.

“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/webmaster for the past 5 years. “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. Matson helped make this possible.”

The new platform will allow the PIR editor to focus more time on identifying quality content and less time on the laborious process of updating the website and email briefs. 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.

Our archive of nearly 100,000 articles from 1997-2016 has been rolled into the new design with a much more user friendly search engine. Unfortunately we were not able to retain links from the old archive in our new system so external links to archives stories will soon stop working, forcing readers to search the new system to find the article. We hope this won’t cause too much of a problem for our readers. You should also be sure to change your bookmark from http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/ to http://pireport.org as the old one will eventually cease to function.

Let us know what you think by commenting below.

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Comments

Well done.

As a daily reader of your news brief I congratulate you to the new design and features. It adds to my user experience. Most of all though, I want to congratulate you to years of wonderful work and interesting content! I will remain a faithful reader of the briefs and perhap use the website more often in the future!

I and my associates have relied on PIR for years, especially the daily email news briefs, to keep up to date on news and events, especially in the RMI, CNMI, FSM, and Palau because of our work which has involved many infrastructure projects, their environmental effects, and a variety of archaeological surveys. We are greatly appreciative of PIR!!! The development pressures in the islands have never before been so severe and signifiant. The hot money is rolling in, casinos are being proposed and the expansion out of Asia into the Pacific islands is unreal. Tourism from Asia to the islands will only increase. Couple these pressures with military push and pull, climate change, and sea level rise, and we have a vast and highly charged situation in what have seemed to Americans to be very peaceful and stagnant places. PIR is the only vehicle which is presenting a picture of this vital area.

Job Well done, PIR team!

Looking good!

I think the re-vamped look is great and it makes navigating through the page easier!

A superb and cool new look, Scott! Is the Currency Converter still part of the PIR package; if so, where is it and how do I bring it up?

Thank you Murray. I hope you're well. We never actually had a currency converter integrated into PIR as far as I recall but we did have a link to this one: http://www.oanda.com/currency/converter/ It's still alive and well and should meet your needs. -Scott

I've been fascinated with islands since I was a boy, after reading about Robert Louis Stevenson's life in Samoa. Thus, your site gets a daily visit from me. One point about the new look. Note that the home page says Today's Pacific News. Because readers live in all kinds of different time zones, it would be helpful to include a date (Today's Pacific News, Friday May 27, 2016). Thanks.

Aloha and thanks for your comment. Note that every article has two dates associated with it--the date it was posted by PIR--which appears immediately below the headline on both the main index page and the article itself; and the date the original article was posted on the source's website from which we retrieved the information--this appears in the first line of the article after the location and source.

Well done PIR team! As a long time visitor and reader, I see in this new design a sign of continuity with the former visual, while keeping up with the changing times and looks. (y)

The new design is very cool and user friendly.

As a long-time consumer of PIR, I say well done!

Very well done. Keep up the good work.

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