As a website developer and former editor-in-chief of The Daily Mississippian, I spend a lot of my time exploring and studying the online components of print publications. When I was DM editor in 2009-2010, we were in a huge transition phase with TheDMOnline.com, including a complete redesign of the site. Between that and getting the paper out each day, it was all we could do to simply get our content online.
Naturally, I am fascinated with the ways college newspapers are using their websites to produce multimedia content. Using video, podcasting, photo galleries, interactive features and social media, many student papers are using a “web first, print product later” mentality when producing news. By using the web for breaking news, constant updates and enhanced multimedia content, they are able to use the paper product for more in-depth, long-form stories in an attempt to better serve the readership.
Here are some of my favorite college newspapers around the country which are doing their jobs really well by valuing both the web and the print product:
The Daily Northwestern (Northwestern University)
The Columbia Daily Spectator (Columbia University)
The Daily Tarheel (University of North Carolina)
Check a few of these out when you have time. What do you like or dislike about them? If you were a student at any of these universities, would you visit the site on a daily basis?
After that, check out TheDMOnline.com and compare it to the other sites. What do you think the current DM editors should feature on the website? What do YOU, as a student, expect/want to see on the site? Breaking news? Sports scores? Blogs? Interactive features like polls or surveys?
To give you a little more guidance, here’s a great column from MediaShift about the online presence of college newspapers. Skim through it before answering and consider it when developing your response:
“10 Reasons Our Student Newspaper Blog Stinks”
– MediaShift: Your Guide to the Digital Media Revolution