Liftoff: First paper to partner with CoPress goes live, open-source
“I’m more than satisfied with the end result,” says Whit Web Editor Emily Kostic. The staff was initially hesitant about the switch, but now, according to Kostic, “Everyone is in love with the new site.”
“I like how it was collaborative with Miles, ensuring that we had a say in what the site would look and feel like,” she added.
Here’s a rundown of the what it took.
Archives. Years of articles from The Whit’s archives were imported, using files provided by CMN. Such transfers of legacy data can be an onerous task, and this one took longer we than expected. But along the way, Miles wrote a script to automate the migration as much as possible, smoothing the trail we hope for future moves.
Look. The Whit’s new design is based on a Revolution Two theme, for an un-bloggish layout. Designer Brian Gardner has unfortunately decided to start charging for these “premium” themes again, just two months after announcing he was offering them for free. We at CoPress were thoroughly unimpressed with the Revolution templates after working underneath the hood. With a growing market of paid themes — see WP Remix and WooThemes, among many others — we’d be hesitant to recommend Revolution.
Backend. WordPress, flexible though it may be, and becoming more like a full-fledged CMS in recent versions, is still basically blogging software out of the box. It takes a slate of plugins and a good bit of tweaking to fit the dynamic needs of a collegiate newspaper. Some inelegant workarounds are required. We’re hoping that adaptation can be made much more efficient.
Our work is not yet done. We’ll continue improving and polishing the Whit’s site. And learning how college newsrooms can better utilize open-source tools like WordPress.
Questions and critiques, as always, are welcome.