Welcome to the new website of The Lens.

Today is our first anniversary, and we’re happy to start our second year with this newly designed website, courtesy of our design-minded, tech-savvy friends at FIVE65 Design.

Our first year was about establishing ourselves as a viable, incisive and successful newsroom, and we did that. We’ve broken a number of stories and, just as importantly, we’ve broadened the conversation on many others.

Moving forward, we’d like to involve you more in our site. We’ve started a section at the lower left of the home page called “ya Heard?” where we invite one-liners, zingers and wry observations. These are the things that come to you as you read the news, watch a game, or daydream at a stoplight. They’re designed to be anonymous and quick. Give it a shot, and as long as it’s not completely tasteless or over the line, we’ll add it to our site. Of course, commenting on stories will continue.

We’d also like to invite op-ed pieces from our readers, to run alongside the ones by our resident opinion writer, Mark Moseley.

We’ve added a section, “Daily Watchdog”, that features investigative stories from other publications covering the Gulf Coast and Louisiana. We’re also featuring stories from our partners at WVUE-TV, Fox8 News.

In what we hope will be a boon for the community, we’re running not just a calendar of upcoming meetings, but also posting agendas when they’re available. Part of this stems from our coverage over the summer of charter schools that weren’t following the state open-meetings law and making all their information available.

We’ve also provided a place at the lower right portion of the page for those without Twitter accounts to follow our regular updates from public meetings we attend. If you’re not familiar with these, you’ll find them by turns pithy, informative or just fun.

Through our partnership with WVUE-TV Fox8, our jointly reported stories have reached an audience well beyond our web reach. Likewise, our print partnerships with The Louisiana Weekly and The Trumpet help deliver our stories to those who may be on the other side of the digital divide. Soon, we’ll launch a similar partnership with Jambalaya News, a Hispanic publication that prints each story in both Spanish and English.

However you choose to read our stories, we hope you’ll continue to send us news tips and offer praise or criticism as you see fit. Each of these makes us a better operation.

Thanks for reading,

Steve Beatty, managing editor