Motueka On­line back from the brink

The Leader (Tasman) - - FRONT PAGE - CHERIE SIVIGNON

Pop­u­lar com­mu­nity news web­site Motueka On­line has been saved from the threat of clo­sure by a change in own­er­ship.

Motueka res­i­dent Shawn Hansen on Mon­day of­fi­cially took over the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the site from its cre­ator and for­mer editor, David Arm­strong.

Hansen said he was ex­cited to take on the chal­lenge. He had started to de­velop a new site that would have a mod­ern, clean look and ad­di­tional func­tion­al­ity.

‘‘It’s very ar­chaic as it is now,’’ Hansen said. ‘‘It’s very text heavy.’’

Arm­strong him­self last month cited the need for the site to be re­vamped when he an­nounced that after nearly eight years at the helm, he had de­cided to ei­ther close it down or pass it on to some­one else.

There had been rapid changes in the on­line me­dia in­dus­try, which meant the site had be­come ‘‘some­what dated and in need of an up­grade’’, Arm­strong said.

When he an­nounced Hansen would take over, Arm­strong said he was ‘‘much re­lieved’’ his suc­ces­sor had stepped up to take the site to a ‘‘new, more mod­ern level’’.

‘‘From the talks we’ve had, I know that he’s not only very skilled up in the tech­ni­cal as­pects but also very pas­sion­ate about the fu­ture of Motueka,’’ Arm­strong said.

Hansen said he would run Motueka On­line as a port­fo­lio in his busi­ness, Pro­pellr, ’’in which I free­lance on mar­ket­ing, man­ag­ing so­cial me­dia and web­site de­sign­ing projects’’.

The site would con­tinue to fo­cus on news and com­mu­nity events ‘‘and so forth’’. There was also a plan to ‘‘de­velop it into some­thing more’’.

‘‘I’ll be de­clut­ter­ing re­cat­e­goris­ing it.’’

Hansen, who works full­time in the avi­a­tion in­dus­try, said Arm­strong ... and was welcome to re­main as a con­trib­u­tor.

‘‘Going for­ward, I’ll be look­ing for other peo­ple as well,’’ he said.

The original site would re­main while the new-look site was de­vel­oped, which could take three months.

‘‘It’s a lot of work to de­velop a site from scratch,’’ Hansen said.

Arm­strong de­scribed Motueka On­line as the largest and most ac­tive non-profit com­mu­nity news web­site in Aus­tralia and New Zealand. The web­site was a fi­nal­ist in the com­mu­nity sec­tion of the Aus­tralia and New Zealand In­ter­net Awards in 2015.

HE­LEN MUR­DOCH/THE LEADER

Motueka On­line cre­ator David Arm­strong may still con­trib­ute ar­ti­cles to the web­site.

Shawn Hansen

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