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BP website launches new look

NASHVILLE (BP) — Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service, launched today (Sept. 17) its new redesigned website, unveiling an updated look and new features.

This is the first comprehensive Baptist Press redesign of bpnews.net since 2007, said Roger S. Oldham, vice president for convention communications and relations with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee. The more flexible, user-friendly design will better “position BP to communicate content in the fast-paced world of Christian journalism,” he noted.

“The old design was based on a newspaper format, reproducing a ‘daily’ in a web-based environment,” Oldham said. The updated design “provides flexibility in delivering news as it happens, expanding Baptist Press’ ability to post news through the variety of media that people utilize in their daily lives, including print, audio and video.”

The site’s new responsive design “automatically sizes to fit whatever screen size, shape or orientation individuals use to access Baptist Press, whether on their computers, smart phones, tablets or other electronic devices,” Oldham said.

Art Toalston, now in his 23rd year as editor of Baptist Press, said the website redesign is “the latest step forward in how the SBC Executive Committee has equipped Baptist Press to be the best possible news service.”

The new website “will optimize the display of our daily content of convention news, of national and international affairs, and of theology and our Baptist distinctives such as the Cooperative Program and a high view of Scripture,” Toalston said. “We have been fortunate to have excellent staffing and supportive relationships with editors, writers and photographers at the SBC entities and state Baptist conventions. Now, we will have an elevated online presence for the Christian journalism we all seek to produce. Next up within a few weeks — a BP app that will extend our cooperative reach even more.”

Providing news with a Christian perspective since 1946, Baptist Press circulates stories through the Internet for 40 state Baptist publications across the country. The news service is based at the SBC Executive Committee’s offices in Nashville. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally. BP reaches a worldwide audience of Southern Baptists, like-minded evangelicals and readers seeking faith-based content.

Among other new features:

— Updated search capabilities designed to be more user-friendly as people search for archived material and story collections.

— In addition to a “Latest News” tab on front page of the site, the site also includes a “Most Popular” tab that highlights the most-read stories from the last 10-15 days.

— Various international and national stories will be accompanied with a Google map that corresponds with the story’s dateline.

— The weather and forecast that corresponds with the reader’s location will display at the bottom of the front page of the site.

The redesign was part of a partnership between the Executive Committee’s information systems and Baptist Press teams. Both groups worked together to create an updated site that allows for smoother navigation and features a more streamlined appearance.

Chris Chapman, director of information systems for the Executive Committee, noted that the new look and feel of Baptist Press is “a refreshing update to an already informative news source for Southern Baptists. It was enjoyable collaborating with Dr. Oldham and the Baptist Press staff, who came prepared with ideas and suggestions from day one.”

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