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You are more than just a reader

As newspapers enter a new age, we at the Tri-City Herald recognize the incredible insight, energy and perspective our readers bring to the news we report. To strengthen this partnership, we have invested in tools by which you, the readers, can help us grow our online community, explore stories from countless perspectives and publish your own column (in the form of a free personal blog) on tricityherald.com. These tools are a gift that we hope inspires you to become more than just a reader.

So dust off your keyboard and add your voice to the award-winning journalism of the Tri-City Herald. Below is a brief overview of some of the new features you can expect when visiting the site.

Feature overview

Comment a story: Did you agree or disagree with a story? We want to know. Share your thoughts on a particular article by scrolling to the bottom of the story, entering your comment in the associated field, and clicking the "Submit" button.

Recommend a story: Did you think a particular story was especially compelling or worth sharing with a friend? Click the "Recommend" arrow link at the top of the story. The more recommendations a story gets, the more likely it will end up appearing on our home page in the "Most Recommended" section.

Upload an avatar: Want to personalize your view of the site and add your own personal stamp to your story comments, forum posts and personal profile page? You can do so by uploading an image of your choice by visiting your profile page - either through clicking on the default avatar icon or clicking the "My Profile" link adjoining it - then selecting the "Edit Profile" link. From this page you can either select one of our default avatars or upload a unique image. The system will automatically resize your picture for clarity purposes, but we recommend that you keep it on the small side (60 x 60 pixels).

Create a personal profile: Just like the avatar mentioned above, you can also further customize your personal profile on tricityherald.com. You can do this by clicking on the "My Profile" link and then selecting "Edit Profile." This will take you to your personal profile page where you can share, within your comfort level, a bit more about yourself with the readers and contributors to tricityherald.com. This page allows you to enter a brief description of yourself, identify your location, share some of your interests and adjust notification settings on your account.

Create a personal blog: Want to comment in greater detail about specific news events or simply share with other readers what is going on in your life? You can do so be creating a free personal blog. You can access the blog and start posting today by clicking on the "My Profile" link or avatar icon and then selecting the "Blog" tab. From there you will be given the option to name your blog, create a brief description and upload an image or icon that represents the blog. You will also have control over comments on your blog, the number of entries it will display and the ability to include a blog roll.

Explore the forums: Looking to discuss your local sports teams, debate current political trends or discuss the sounds of the neighborhood music scene? Check out the site's new forums section that we hope offers something for everyone to enjoy. With features such as "reply to post," you can engage your fellow tricityherald.com users in a vigorous conversation as well as start your own threads of dialogue directly on the site. You can visit the forums section of our site by clicking on the following link.

Our hope is that these features (some new, some upgrades) will give you the opportunity to better engage the Tri-City Herald's online community. In return, we ask two things of you as readers:

Respect one another. Please treat each other respectfully when engaging in discussion around topics and stories. While we anticipate spirited debate, the Tri-City Herald does not permit hate speech, attacks on other posters, spam or links to other sites. Our staff actively monitors comments and forums and will review content flagged by other users as abusive. Users that abuse the opportunities framed above will have their content removed from the site.

Tell us what you think. While we hope the changes we have implemented offer you more freedom to share and engage other users, we recognize that the new changes are a work in progress. If you have suggestions on improvements or changes we should make, please share them with us by emailing aperdue@tricityherald.com. Your feedback is critical to the next stage of development on our site and ultimately will help us shape the next round of features made available.

Thank you for your time, and we look forward to reading your contributions and hearing your feedback.

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