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OEN: Looking Back at 2014, Forward to 2015

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OEN's first logo, circa 2003
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OEN Looks Back at 2014 and Forward to 2015
(Image by Collage using public domain images by Meryl Ann Butler for OpEdNews)
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OEN saw many changes in 2014.

We welcomed Scott Baker as Managing Editor in October. With his background in IT he's been a great help with website tech considerations and visions. And with his bottom-up activism work in economics, he's brought wisdom and experience to our table.

And this is a good time to belatedly but formally welcome Managing Editor Meryl Ann Butler, who has been serving in that position since Feb 2013. In addition to contributing to close to a million views with her articles, quicklinks and editorial work, Meryl Ann has been responsible for beta-testing many features of this site, she has worked on our groundbreaking image gallery development, and she brings a sense of kindhearted balance to many of our managerial discussions. OEN has developed into a more cordial and positive environment because of her involvement.

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The third Managing Editor is our loyal and productive Sheila Samples\. the s " Her quicklinks have gotten over 4 million views! Sheila works so hard at OEN I have to tell her to back off and take vacations. She spends many hours every day posting articles for people we have permission to reprint, like Paul Craig Roberts, Chris Hedges and Ray McGovern, for starters. And that includes coding extra HTML. She also gets into cleaning up article spelling and grammar on already published article. Sheila is a true OEN treasure.

The Senior editorial team consists of founder Publisher Rob Kall, Managing Editors Sheila Samples, Meryl Ann Butler and Scott Baker; and Senior Editors Joan Brunwasser, Walt Brasch and Jerry Policoff. The main job of the senior team is to work on policy and big picture issues, and to deal with issues and problems that come to our attention--or to bring issues to our attention.

And we want to thank our webmaster Vidya not only for his ongoing work, but from rescuing as well as protecting us from a variety of hack and malware attacks on the site. His hard work is not always visible unless there is a glitch that is resolved, so we want to thank him for all the work behind the scenes which keeps OEN running.

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This is a good time to acknowledge the wonderful contributions of all of OpEdNews' editors and members. OEN is based on a model of bottom-up interactive community, and the every member's contribution is an integral part of this operation. We appreciate all of you. Even the curmudgeonly ones, whose criticisms have often been offered in less-than-gentlemanly fashion. And while we always wish for a little more chivalry in these instances, we don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Even the hidden merits in the most venomous accusations are carefully considered by our managing staff.

Two longtime Managing Editors, John Moffett and Linda Milazzo have moved on to other projects. We deeply appreciate all of their contributions in so many ways, particularly helping to establish editorial policies over the years.

Amanda Lang, our first volunteer editor and long serving senior editor passed away this summer after a long time struggling with debilitating pain and chronic illness. Between her experience as an officer in the military and her Ph.D. in analytics, and a wry, brilliant wit, she brought much to the table. Our deepest condolences were extended to her family.

John Reed, another senior editor who often brought his legal expertise and deep knowledge of history to OEN has withdrawn from active service because of illness and we all look forward to his speedy recovery.

In addition, 2014 saw the implementation of a whole lot of new features, many a result of your suggestions or reports of problems. Here's a partial list of some of the more major projects and there were also scores of smaller fixes and improvements we've added:

  • Article Series function, which enables writers to collect and tie together related articles into a series. I love this new feature.
  • A new image search and insertion tool. I think it is revolutionary. It makes it easier to acquire image attributions and real easy to find images for your articles that are okay to use, copyright-wise. This is a big deal. If you haven't tried this out, we heartily invite you to give it a whirl.
  • Ability to sort popularity based on use of social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, etc, or all of them combined
  • Eliminated unnecessary keystrokes in site operations. (Let us know if you see any places where you think we could could cut keystrokes.)
  • Friendlier text handling for article submissions
  • Improved commenting programming.
  • Many, many improved editor and sys-admin back panel controls, like a tool to assign articles in the queue to specific editors which holds the articles for the assigned editor, and a new way to select the author when an editor is posting an article for an author (this is (a function used for specifically selected authors
  • A tool for sending and archiving messages sent from managing editors and/or me to members
  • Updated and improved social sharing tools
  • Improved site security
  • Updated Facebook and Twitter signup and log-in functions
  • Improvements to the mobile version of OEN
  • Streamlining and clearer labeling of the member control panel
  • Enhancement of the log-in page
  • Special thanks to Senior Editor Joan Brunwasser, Editor Deena Stryker and contributor Eric Zuesse for helping to identify some of the glitches, and issues in the software so we could enhance and correct them.

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    In 2015, we look forward to implementing a host of additional new features. Here's a partial listing:

  • More improvements to the image search, insert and attribute tool
  • Easier, friendlier commenting
  • Easier embedding of videos in articles and comments
  • Ways to manage images you've already uploaded-- so you have your own image library, with owner attributions and permissions (so, if you like, others will be able to find and use your images based on your CC permissions
  • Matching articles submitted in the queue to editors interests based on tags
  • A discussion forum, not necessarily tied to specific articles, to further help build community
  • Chat rooms for real-time conversations
  • A reputation system which gives members credit for ways they help OEN. -- we've been working on this for a long time and expect to have the first phase up and running this year.
  • During the year we gave free ads to a number of organizations and causes. We do have one or two open slots, so if you know of an org or cause that deserves support, please feel free to pitch it to us.

    Above all, we appreciate you, our readers and contributors. We appreciate your comments, articles, constructive criticism, and financial support, all of which help make us a better site.

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