Tagged: 'Drupal'

Innovative Models: Student media at George Mason University

This guest post is both an update on our previous coverage of Connect2Mason and the first in our new series about innovative models of interest to college media sites.

George Mason University has an interesting community; with many of the students living off-campus or attending classes at one of the four satellite campuses, finding a way to reach out to and work with them can be difficult. We are always looking at what’s going on online to figure out which tools can help us best.

With that in mind, we’ve launched two websites, Mason Votes and onMason, in the past year and a half. We’re also in the midst of a second redesign of Connect2Mason, our convergence website which pulls content from all of our other student media outlets. We’ve also been pretty serious about expanding our social media presence to cover the needs of our diverse community.

GMU relevent terms used as blog post tags. From technorati.com


At the beginning of this semester we launched a new site called onMason. During the last two years, we’ve noticed that a lot of students are out there, blogging, sending pictures from their phones to the web and creating websites. We felt that we were missing a serious opportunity to bring student-created media to the forefront because, even though we run searches, there’s always going to be a huge amount of stuff we’re going to miss.

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College Media Lab: The Chronicle at Duke switches to Drupal

Lauren Rabaino and I spoke with a few Web staffers from The Chronicle at Duke University for the latest episode of College Media Lab (the renamed This Week in CoPress). Our guests were:

As you might have seen, Alex wrote a blog post for CoPress about their recent switch from College Publisher to Drupal. Here’s a summary of what we discussed in the podcast:

  • Why they chose Drupal
  • How the switch went
  • How they’re building a Web staff
  • Multimedia
  • New commenting policy and their comment system

Listen in!

WordPress 2.8.5 is out, updates to Courant News, and details on the Columbia Spectator

Recommended links for the weekend:

Add your links to the mix by joining the CoPress Newsgroup on Publish2.

Tips and Tricks: Behind the Scenes of The Chronicle’s Relaunch at Duke

For years, both The Chronicle’s staff and our readers knew we had a pretty nasty Web site. But like most college newspapers back in 2007, we didn’t have a robust online department and we treated our site with a level of respect even Rodney Dangerfield would have been surprised to witness.

The Chronicle | The Independent Daily at Duke University

That all changed when we had a few important things happen at around the same time in early 2008. First, our then-editor, David Graham, recognized the need for a new Web presence. Midway through his editorship, I cold-emailed David to tell him that I really wanted to help The Chronicle make a new website. The next year’s editor, Chelsea Allison, immediately went to bat for us financially and logistically, and a task force of sorts was hatched — including a few top editors, some nerdy staff members and several developers we had managed to recruit. Read more →

Iterative Drupal Development with the Minnesota Daily

Recently, the Minnesota Daily launched a new version of its Web site, mndaily.com. We launched our first version last year, and that was the first time we had used Drupal, a powerful open-source content management system (CMS). Although this new version is still built on Drupal, we have made significant improvements by taking much more advantage of Drupal’s powerful features.
The front page of mndaily.com, a college news site running on Drupal.
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This Week in CoPress: Minnesota Daily redesign

Brand new multimedia section for the Minnesota Daily

After three months of hard work, the Minnesota Daily has a brand new design to improve its layout and usability. Son Huynh gives us his take on theming Drupal, changing a paper’s workflow and reorganizing news content.

In addition, just last March, the Minnesota Daily teamed up with developers from NewsCloud to create a Facebook application as part of a not-for-profit research study sponsored by the Knight Foundation to find new ways of engaging young people in news readership and community engagement. As an incentive, the Minnesota Daily hosts challenges and implemented a point system to reward active readers with prizes for their participation (such as posting on the Facebook page, tweeting, following the paper on Twitter).

Son also talks about the challenges of building an online community around the paper and his plans to revamp the app by adding Facebook Connect, so users can access the paper while being logged on to Facebook, and a selection on the paper’s site to better connect student groups and campus events. The newest version of the Minnesota Daily is set to launch on Sept 8th. Be sure to check out the new multimedia section, which was in part inspired by the Onion.

Have feedback for the Minnesota Daily? Leave a comment or email Son at shuynh [at] mndaily [dot] com.

Tomorrow on This Week in CoPress: Previewing the Minnesota Daily’s Redesign

‘Tis the season for college media makeovers, and this week we’ll be discussing the soon-to-launch redesign of the Minnesota Daily — and getting a sneak peek. Last fall they switched to Drupal for their content management system and now they’re looking to build on that with a fresh coat of paint.

Listen live as Online Manager Son Hunyh and others from the Daily’s staff discuss the redesign and their ideas and plans for this year, including tactics to increase readership engagement. Be sure to join our live text chat below and call in to give feedback.

If you’re not able to listen live, please add your question as a comment.

When: Sunday, Aug. 30 at 5 p.m. ET

Where: BlogTalkRadio (or listen here with the embedded player)

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This Week in CoPress: Beginnings of a new year

twicGreg, Vanessa and Joey talk with Sara Gregory, Managing Editor for Online at the Daily Tar Heel, who helped to launch a new site on Drupal on Saturday and Will Davis, Editor in Chief at The Maine Campus, who brings light to their switch at the beginning of the summer from College Publisher to WordPress MU.

The Daily Tar Heel switched to Drupal, Sara Gregory says, because is more compatible with paper’s existing structure, size and content. She’s making online publication simpler by eliminating copy editors and desk editors from the process. Now only one desk level and one management editor read each online story before publication. Thanks to the redesign, readers can now subscribe to two different newsletters (regular and breaking news) and choose from numerous RSS feed options. The paper’s staff also added a new Community Manager position that is responsible for both of the paper’s regular and breaking news Twitter accounts as well as its Facebook account. Gregory’s upcoming projects include incorporating major linking within stories.

Will Davis made the transition to WordPress MU because he wanted The Maine Campus to have a variety of plug-ins and the potential to build a blog community. He set up custom-user permissions so writers post drafts to the Web site as well as a plug-in that emails staff when a draft is posted, cutting down the workflow to just two steps. The site also has a RSS feed for the entire site and newsletter for subscribers. Davis is in the works of launching “Campus Currents,” a user-generated wiki-based community site, and a user-generated restaurant guide. He hopes to integrate more multimedia production and interactivity online in the near future.

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Designing a New dailytarheel.com

Andrew Dunn and Sara Gregory have posted a draft design for the new Daily Tar Heel Drupal website being designed by Stunt3 and welcome feedback from the community. If I were redesigning a website right now for a student news organization, I’d use the opportunity to try something even more radical. What if the Daily Tar Heel were to take design cues from Facebook and use the homepage to show me a stream of the website activity based on who was in my social graph? That’s the type of experimentation I’d personally like to see.

Later: Sara informs me that Switchback is also helping with the website design.

This Week in CoPress: College Newspapers and the Switch to Drupal

Hosts: Greg Linch and Emily Kostic

Guests: Steve Contorno, former editor in chief of the University of Illinois’s The Daily Illini and Zach Valentire, the Webmaster of the Minnesota Daily. Dreier Carr, the photo editor of The Technician at North Carolina State.

Summary: Greg and Emily discuss the power of Drupal and the creation of The Daily Illini‘s own CMS on Drupal with Contorno. The former Editor in Chief continues the conversation by passing on tips to college publications considering Drupal. Valentire and Carr discuss the popularity of Drupal and how it’s no longer something you can ignore. The three editors analyze how the switch can be made, how Drupal can be incorporated into your college newspaper’s workflow, and each of their staffs’ responses to the switch.

Related blog post: A Brand New Drupally Daily Illini

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