Talk Business & Politics, The City Wire unveil new website

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 259 views 

Existing websites for Talk Business & Politics and The City Wire have been replaced by this new website designed to provide readers convenient access to the business and political news of their choosing.

The new website is the result of a merger between Talk Business & Politics and The City Wire that was announced Oct. 1. The new company, Natural State Media is based in Fort Smith, and the merged operation continues its indepth coverage of business and political news in Northwest Arkansas, the Fort Smith metro, central Arkansas, Northeast Arkansas and statewide.

With the new website (, readers of Talk Business & Politics and The City Wire will still have access to local news coverage and also will have access to more business and political news from around the state. Talk Business & Politics will be the primary brand of the new website.

The new website was built by Johnathon Williams, web developer with Fayetteville-based Odd Jar. Williams has been creating and maintaining websites for 10 years, including early website work for what was then Stephens Media.

During the next few weeks the staff of Talk Business & Politics will work with Williams to refine the website. Combining the two websites required incorporating more than 30,000 story files and many more images, author notes, byline boxes and other associated text and visuals. It may take a few days or weeks to connect all the dots, so your patience and input will be most appreciated.

The new responsive website will automatically conform to view on a desktop, tablet or mobile device.

“One of our top goals has been to take the lessons learned from histories with both websites and incorporate them into this new structure. The launch of the new website is the first major step for the new company, and we built the website to evolve and change with the industry, and reader trends and demographics,” said Roby Brock, CEO and publisher of Natural State Media.

Some of the changes, Brock said, could include new specific-content areas or access to premium content.

Regular visitors of The City Wire will see only minor changes, with one of those being the process by which to comment on stories. Story commenting will now be available to those with a Facebook account, avoiding the more indirect process now in place. This will be a new feature for Talk Business & Politics readers who prior to the new website could not comment on stories.

Member blog access and posts will remain available on the new website.

“One of the reasons for success over the years with The City Wire was the ability for our readers to interact. We are not losing that ability with the new look,” said Michael Tilley, vice president and executive editor of Natural State Media.

Tilley reiterated that the new media company will not diminish its focus on regional coverage.

“The advantage with the merger is that news about downtown Springdale or downtown Fort Smith and other localized news will continue to be part of the regular feed, but readers now have more direct access to business and political news from other parts of Arkansas,” Tilley said.

Following are other new or expanded items on the new website.
• Microsites
Near the bottom of the front page are five “microsites” that provide content on specific areas of the state’s economy. The microsites now on the site are Energy, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Startup/Technology, and Tourism.

• Special sections
The new website provides better access to unique reports provided by Talk Business & Politics. The sections include: The Compass Report, the only independent analysis of Arkansas’ three largest metro areas; Arkansas’ Tourism Ticker, a measurement of the state’s second-largest economic sector; and The Supply Side, key news about the retail supplier community, with a focus on the Wal-Mart supplier network in Northwest Arkansas.

• New features for Talk Business & Politics readers
Several features that were part of The City Wire are being merged into the new website. New for those familiar with the former Talk Business website will be: Tusk to Tail, a presentation of the tailgating experience as organized, performed and perfected by a group of Hog fans who have been tailgating together sober and otherwise for more than a decade; and business and political news briefs.