First, a bit of history: The first time I fiddled with a newspaper Web site, it was thespartandaily.com, after I walked into an adviser’s office at San Jose State’s School of Journalism & Mass Communications and asked something like “hey, any way to get an RSS feed off that thing?”
There was, and we did, and I spent a good chunk of time over the next two semesters redesigning the site, migrating it from one host to a second one that had purchased the first, and supporting early efforts at multimedia at the Daily.
But it wasn’t easy. And little of the code I had to muck about in to get the site to do what I wanted was code that I could learn from, or re-use, or maintain in any sort of extensible way.
Since then, more options have popped up for hosting student media Web sites, the most popular and obvious one being to launch a WordPress site on your own server.
But of course, it would be nice if there were one place to share tips, tricks, plugins, ideas, and code snippets with other students and advisers working with WordPress for student newspapers, right?
I’ve had a chance to talk, chat, and tweet with some of the students and recent graduates behind CoPress over the last few months, and I think they’re clearly the sharpest minds in online student media right now.
Here’s the short list of resources, places to start looking into CoPress, if you’re serious about getting your news site off that big popular hosted solution and thinking about giving students, staff, and advisers a chance to learn more than how to paste from Word into a WYSIWYG editor:
- CoPress.org: Subscribe to the blog’s feed, read more about the budding organization, and contact the team.
- CoPress Hosting: Not planning to deal with development, design, or server hosting on your own? Talk with the CoPress team about what they can do for you.
- CoPress on Twitter: Follow the team on Twitter.
- CoPress on iTunes: Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. The CoPress team has done an amazing job of staying transparent, posting recordings of their conference calls as a regular podcast.
If it sounds like I’m excited about this, I am. This blog started out life in 2005 as “Ryan Sholin’s J-School Blog,” and as far as I’m concerned, working in student media is the best way to build your skillset, on deadline, with real stories, photos, video, readers, comments, and every other element live and in play. If CoPress makes it easier for students to expand that skillset to cover development, design, and site management for online news, that’s fantastic.