More Than a Facelift

By Tom Shoop

February 1, 2012

Here at Government Executive, we’ve been in the print publishing business for more than 40 years. But we’ve also been in the online world for more than 15. Indeed, when we launched our flagship website, GovExec.com, in August 1996, the World Wide Web was in its infancy, and the full force of the dot-com boom was still a few years off. 

Any magazine could put up a home page, we figured. We had a bigger dream: to cover the government in a new and different way.

At the time, major newspapers and a series of newsletters presented information about the federal bureaucracy episodically, but no one had ever set out to cover the operations and management of government on a daily basis. We figured we were in a great position to do so. A website provided the perfect complement to a monthly print magazine, we thought—and still do. Online, we cover news as it occurs, keeping members of the federal community up-to-date on stories involving management, pay and benefits, technology, procurement, defense, and a variety of other subjects. In print, we provide full background and context on these stories through serious, long-form journalism.

In October 2011, we relaunched the magazine with a fresh design and new content structure. Now it’s time for the website to get its overhaul. So we’re launching a whole new GovExec.com

In the process, we’re upgrading the look and feel of the site to better reflect the way people consume information online. That means many more photos and graphics, a more logical structure, and a much more exciting and dynamic home page. It also means a more elegant interface designed to enhance the way the government leaders we serve can get access to critical news and information.

But the changes are more than a facelift. We’re adding key new elements to the user experience, making the site a critical all-day resource:

-- We’ll be faster, posting not only our own breaking stories, but aggregating news and information from our technology-focused site, Nextgov.com, as well as our sister publications, The Atlantic and National Journal.  Key articles and features will be highlighted at the top of the page. 

-- The site will be more social and more interactive, with new and easier ways for users to share our content on Twitter, Facebook and other networks. And each article will include an updated comments section, enabling discussion around all the subjects we cover.

-- Voices, a section featured front and center, will highlight our daily columns and blogs. It will provide in-depth analysis on subjects ranging from management to politics to leadership.

-- As major events develop, we will create special online reports by pulling together key news coverage and additional resources. 

-- We’ll have a special version of the site designed to optimize the user experience on mobile devices.

A new sort structure will organize information into the categories that our users have indicated are most important to them: Management, Oversight, Defense, Technology, Contracting, Pay and Benefits, and Retirement. Each section will have a drop-down menu at the top of the page highlighting the latest news and analysis. And each will feature other resources tailored to the specific subject areas.

Here’s what’s not changing: the elements of the site that our readers have grown to depend on, from our reporters’ and editors’ take on developing events in Fedblog to the advice in Tammy Flanagan’s Retirement Planning column to our Gimme My Discount feature in which feds can share tips on great deals being offered to government employees. We’ll also maintain popular features such as the Earlybird, which continuously updates headlines from key news sources.

One other thing isn’t going away, either: our commitment to providing the best, most detailed coverage of management and civil service issues across the federal spectrum. That’s been our mission since Day One. And in an age when the debate over the size, structure and functions of government is growing ever more intense, we think that mission is more important than ever.


By Tom Shoop

February 1, 2012

http://www.govexec.com/magazine/magazine-editors-notebook/2012/02/more-facelift/40985/