El Mensajero, Catholic Courier to launch new Web sites

El Mensajero Católico is preparing to launch a new bilingual Web site, www.ElMensajeroRochester.com, which will enable visitors to read regularly updated articles, view video reports and submit their own news and opinions.

Beginning this month, www.ElMensajeroRochester.com and www.CatholicCourier.com, the redesigned Web site of the Catholic Courier, will offer new and interesting features that clearly reflect how the concept of a newspaper is being redefined in the Information Age.

Karen M. Franz, editor and general manager of both newspapers, observed the ElMensajeroRochester.com will be transformed into a complete Web site compared to its current state, which is little more than a gallery of photos and digital reproductions of the newspaper’s print editions. And whereas El Mensajero is published only in Spanish, visitors to the new Web site will be able to change back and forth between Spanish and English at every level. The Mensajero site also will add the same features as the redesigned Courier site — galleries of photos and videos, reader-contributed news, e-commerce and more.

Planning for the professionally designed bilingual site for El Mensajero began in early 2009, along with the redesign of the Courier site, Franz said. While that plan was moving forward, however, the staff of the newspapers decided to create a simple Web site, in English only, for El Mensajero, primarily to hold the Internet address www.ElMensajeroRochester.com, she said. This initial site has consisted only of a slideshow of El Mensajero photos, a PDF archive of prior issues, a list of locations where the newspaper can be picked up and some basic information about the organization.

Franz said she doubted whether many people were even aware of the initial site’s existence.

"The new site, by contrast, is a complete Web site that will offer a database of regularly updated articles, videos generated locally and by international news services, many more photos, national and international news, movie reviews, photos and news submitted by readers, and many other features," she said. "It also will enable visitors to change back and forth between English and Spanish at the click of a button."

A series of television commercials has been created to air on 13WHAM-TV at the end of the month when the two Web sites are ready to go online, Franz added. "The ads are ready for broadcast as soon as we get the last details complete."

Although El Mensajero’s Web site is new, this is the second major overhaul to the Courier’s Web site, which was originally established in 1996. The two sites have a similar design, and visitors will be able to move easily between El Mensajero and the Courier. The sites also will link to the Twitter and Facebook pages of both newspapers, and to the Web site of the Diocese of Rochester.

Father Edward Palumbos, chairman of the Editorial Committee of the newspapers’ Board of Directors, called the technological advances of the Internet "a marvelous moment of grace to which we want to expose ourselves as much as possible.

"The use of the Internet to evangelize and communicate with people is not an option or a luxury. It is a necessity," continued Father Palumbos, pastor of Church of the Assumption in Fairport. "Our efforts to provide a more user-friendly Web site are already paying off well."

"We are very enthusiastic about the ability to offer a site of this quality to the Latino community," Franz added.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Contains reporting by Annette Jiménez and Mike Latona.

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