For those of you who are not on Albion’s campus, I’m writing this post to serve as a forum to discuss the changes to the Pleiad–starting next year, it will be one of the first college papers in the GLCA to move exclusively online. I wrote a column announcing the switch in this week’s edition of the paper.
I, of course, am both really excited and jealous about the move: excited because I was there to help transition the site to one that supports the switch, as well as offering a little input on how the new program should look, and jealous because I’m graduating before the program moves exclusively online.
Okay, enough about that. The real reason for this post is because the switch is bringing a lot of changes to the paper.
- First, the publication will be updated far more frequently. With our current process, stories are pitched with a 10-day lead time, making a lot of stories old news by the time our readers finally see them in print. By moving to to the Web, we expect stories to be updated at least twice a week and “breaking news” stories could be made available as soon as they are edited.
- There will be a lot more focus on multimedia reporting. We have a relatively small program here–only one professor and about three classes offered per semester–which limited how much ground we could cover. By eliminating the design aspect of the curriculum (we used InDesign for page layout in the print version), we will have time to teach staffers how to shoot video, construct slideshows and edit audio for the Web.
- The move to the new Web site allowed us to add a lot of community building features. We now have a RSS feed and can allow readers to comment on stories. I’ve also created a Twitter account (@PleiadOnline) that feeds the latest stories as well as insights from the editors. Don’t like a story? Think we got something wrong? Or just want to add your own thoughts to what was reported? Let us know with a comment. Talk with one another about the stories using the comment feature–you’ll get a lot more from the what we report that way.
If you want to know a little bit more about how I put the site together, check out this post.
If you have any questions or concerns about how the site –from being confused about how something works to telling me that you don’t like the color scheme, now’s the time to say something. Before I leave, I want to do my best to make this your paper as much as it is the staff’s.
Having the paper exclusively online is going to be a change, but I think it’s going to be a great one. What do you guys think?
**Edit: The Pleiad archives will be migrated to the new site over the summer. Because of my busy schedule with classes and applying to grad programs and jobs and whatnot, I didn’t have the free time to do it with the initial transition.