By BILL SHUMWAY
Many people tell us they visit NorthCountryNow.com several times every day because “there’s always something new.”
But some of our viewers wonder exactly how often our site is updated.
There are actually two answers:
• at least nine times every weekday
• every ten minutes.
Let me explain.
Our news staff – News Editor Craig Freilich, Associate Editor Jimmy Lawton, Assistant Editor Lisa Hoover, Weekend Editor Betsy Gabel and Editorial Assistant Kate Olmstead – follows a daily update schedule.
Five times every weekday, they post about seven stories and links under “Latest News” and a new homepage photo every 2 ½ to 3 hours between 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. In addition, our Obituaries, Opinion, Police Blotter and Sports sections are updated daily.
That’s nine updates each day. On the weekend, three or four daily updates are scheduled.
Careful viewers may also notice the homepage changes every ten minutes. It’s designed that way.
After ten minutes, different ads and headlines may appear if NorthCountryNow.com is revisited or the page is refreshed or reloaded.
The home page is cached every ten minutes to reduce the load on the server.
Approximately 150 different items appear on the home page – including links to news stories, photos, ads and other items – and traffic can exceed 3,000 visits per hour during peak periods.
As we discovered when we first unveiled the current version of NorthCountryNow.com, allowing our site to reflect every change as soon as it is made places too much a demand on the server and can cause it to crash.
While caching the home page solves the problem of reducing demand on the server, it also presents a challenge for our news staff.
Sometimes, the home page will re-cache while we are in the middle of posting the seven stories and photo during an update.
On occasion when you visit NorthCountryNow.com, you may discover that the top story is about a pancake breakfast at one of St. Lawrence County’s many churches or some other community event. That’s because the page cached before we posted all of the news stories for the current update.
Check back ten minutes later – you may have to refresh or reload the page – and you’ll probably discover more significant news stories appear under the “Latest News” heading and the pancake breakfast story is now the sixth or seventh story down.
Sometimes, unfortunately, viewers will see typos in headlines, since the internet provides us the opportunity to post items immediately.
We strive to proofread all of our headlines after posting, but if the page caches before we are finished, we’re stuck with the typo for at least ten minutes until the homepage caches again and reflects the correction or change we have made.