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KTVZ.COM enhancements: More livestreams, better polls

At NewsChannel 21, we pride ourselves in working hard every single day to live up to the slogan Central Oregon’s News Leader. And of course, a key component is KTVZ.COM, where we work hard to keep you up to date with the latest developments around the High Desert and the state, nation and world.

We’ve just launched in recent days a pair of new efforts to do that even better, and make it a more worthwhile (and fun!) experience for you.

First, we’ve expanded our capacity to provide livestream video — not just of our newscasts, which you can watch any time (we’re always replaying the most recent newscast between live shows) at https://www.ktvz.com/livestream (also available by navigation under the News or Video tabs atop all of our pages).

But now, the livestream page also comes alive when there’s a threatening wildfire or our district attorney holds a news conference, to cite two recent examples.

The Special Coverage livestreams play in a second player window below the newscast player (or popped above some times, if big news is breaking between shows). We’ll alert you by phone and atop the Website when there’s a new livestream happening.

And when we aren’t doing a livestream of breaking news, the Special Coverage video player also allows you to watch any of our past livestream events – just click the icon in the upper right and a list will appear, so you can see that wildfire live shot, that news conference, Emily Kirk talking about our heat wave, etc. – whenever you want!

Secondly, we’ve greatly upgraded our KTVZ.COM Poll from what we had before.

Past experience has shown people don’t just want to vote — they want to talk about the questions we pose. But previously, the only way to do that was the next day, when we posted a story to our Community Billboard. Not very satisfying!

But no longer! With the new KTVZ.COM Poll, powered by SquareOffs, you can also comment right there, beneath your vote! Or just read what others have to say. (You do have to use Facebook or Twitter to log in and comment, though we plan to add another sign-in option soon.)

You can even ‘up-vote’ (clicking a little arrow) the comments you agree with, much like Reddit. (Nope, no down-voting built in here – the emphasis is on the positive!) There are some other limitations, compared to the news articles’ Disqus comment platform, in a bid to make reading or partaking in the debate a more civil and valuable experience.

Once you vote, the results show in the colorful headers on the two sides of the debate. (A bit dimly, one of those things we’ve asked for an improvement in, contrast-wise).

And after you vote, you can also share the poll to your own Facebook or Twitter feed, or even clip some code and embed the poll in other places.

But wait, there’s more! Our polls are no longer just there to vote on for a single day (or two — we post a new one each weekday). You can see a couple other recent polls below the daily poll (still halfway down the right side of our home page).

And on the left side of our special polls page, at https://www.ktvz.com/polls (in navigation atop any page, the first item under the Community tab), you can see plenty of recent questions we’ve posed, vote on them if you haven’t already, read the comments and post your own!

This also opens the door to us putting KTVZ.COM Polls on news, feature and lifestyle articles, because there’s often something fun (or serious) to discuss or debate beyond the top local news of the day.

For both the expanded livestream video and polls, we still have a few improvements and finishing touches to make. But we invite you to try them out and offer up your feedback, which we really appreciate.

And as always, thanks for all your support – it means a lot to us!

–Barney Lerten, digital content director

KTVZ News Team

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