Student media spotlight: Web projects for winter break

Leading into this week’s Hacking the Student Newsroom session, here’s a quick preview of online projects individual student journalists and newsorgs will be conducting over the upcoming winter break:

Investigative multimedia site from McKenna Ewen

twitterpic3-150x150McKenna Ewen, a multimedia journalist at the University of Minnesota, is doing an investigative piece about a journalist’s mysterious death in Minneapolis in 1945. This winter break, he’s putting together a custom site and documentary about the story. Ewen says:

[Investigative reporter James Shiffer] approached me in August about helping build the project into a website and making a short documentary of it. I agreed and made it part of my senior thesis, which is about increasing video views on the web. We’re going to launch project independently and see how much traffic we can pull in without an advertising budget (it should be interesting).

The anticipated publish date is early in January (we’ll link you to it when it launches). Update: This post originally stated the project was part of a collaboration with the Star Tribune. It is not.

Development continues on Nando from Max Cutler, Rob Baskin, and Andrew Spittle

Yale student Max Cutler has been working on a workflow tool for the administrative side of the Courant News CMS, code named “Nando.” A few features for the tool include a pitch system, a workflow based around statuses and user roles, and a heavily customizable dashboard for all of this activity. He’s recruited CoPress’ Andrew Spittle to continue development on the project over winter break. You can hear more about what they’ll be working on specifically at today’s Hacking The News workshop.

SR2 Blog from Josh Halliday

sr2blogJosh Halliday, a journalism student at the University of Sunderland, is starting a project for community-based blogging as part of his final project. From the blog’s about page:

SR2 Blog is the new community-run neighbourhood news website, dedicated to the SR2 area of Sunderland.

We’re recruiting community reporters who either want to keep their neighbours on top of what’s going on down their street or vent on an issue that’s not being dealt with. If you live, work or know SR2 why not get involved?

SR2Blog features news broken down by neighborhood, video, liveblogs, and social media. The project is an interesting experiment in -hyperlocal, community-generated news and we’ll be interested to watch its progression.

EditFlow updates from Mo Jangda, Daniel Bachhuber, Scott Bressler and Will Davis

EditFlow_Logo-Av1_280Edit Flow is a WordPress plugin being developed by Mo Jangda, Daniel Bachhuber, Scott Bressler and Will Davis to help tailor the CMS’s workflow for an editorial environment. Although the first few phases of the project have already been released, the plugin is still actively in development. Here’s what they’ll will be working on this winter as part of the next phase (via the CoPress wiki):

  • More granular email notifications, including the ability to have a notification go to a predefined group of people
  • User groups with functionality to define specific groups of users within WordPress.
  • Visualization of the editorial workflow data within WordPress, let it be through a calendar view, an activity stream, or other.
  • The ability to define newsroom-specific metadata for each post.
  • Functionality to allow custom definition of a required set of actions for each piece. These could be “copy-edit,” “fact-check,” etc.

SB Statesman redesign and restructuring from Bradley Donaldson

statesmanThe SB Statesman — the student newsorg at Stony Brook University in New York — has a winter goal that every student publication can and should be pursuing this break: redesigning and resturcturing their site. From editor-in-chief, Bradley Donaldson, here are a few goals they have:

  • Create a website that has a greater focus on multimedia.
  • Make the site much more user-friendly and student-centered
  • Harness social media to both spread the word about the newspaper and have a presence in student communities

What I really like about this redesign project is that it’s not a feat accomplished by a few web editors, but the staff as a whole. Donaldson said they’re finally taking a step they’ve neglected in the past:

Fortunately we have a good number of staffers who are interested in helping out with this, and the entire newsroom on a whole is excited about the changes being made. We’ve neglected our online presence too much or been very inconsistent with it in the past, even though we had the manpower and know-how to really improve it.

Full disclosure: The Statesman plans to launch its new redesign on CoPress’ Managed Hosting plan.

If you want to hear about what’s going on specifically with Edit Flow, Nando and Courant News, or just want some feedback on what you’re working on now’s the chance: join today’s Hacking the Student Newsroom session. The session will be run through TalkShoe so just call (724) 444-7444 at 4 p.m. PST and enter the Call ID when asked (it’s 67693).

Testing Edit Flow with the Whitman Pioneer

Last year, as part of my day job, I helped relaunch the Whitman Pioneer with a new design. This year we wanted to keep innovating and decided to try an online-first workflow at the beginning of this semester. This means that we are now having reporters write all of their posts in WordPress and then copying from the CMS into the InDesign template. While some have gone the route of using spreadsheets to keep track of workflow, we decided to implement Edit Flow, an editorial plugin developed by Mo Jangda, Daniel and others. [Read more…]

Edit Flow v0.2: Now with Post Metadata, Commenting and Notifications

The Edit Flow metabox enables editorial comments and provides some additional metadata fields to track details related to each post.

After a long hiatus, CoPress finally released v0.2 of Edit Flow this past weekend. Those who have it installed should have seen a notification to update; for those who haven’t jumped on the Edit Flow bandwagon yet, grab it from the WordPress Plugin Directory.

We’ve got some cool new features in this new version, outlined below: [Read more…]

Edit Flow Project: Stage 1 beta release

This past weekend, we released the beta version of Stage 1 (Custom Post Statuses) of the Edit Flow Project, a plugin aiming to improve the WordPress Admin Interface for a multi-user newsroom’s editorial workflow.

The main goal of this stage was to “improve posts statuses by allowing custom statuses.” WordPress, by default, only allows for two statuses for posts during the editing process: “Draft” and “Pending Review”. These statuses are not very descriptive nor do they make it easy to track a story as it moves through a newsroom’s often complex, multi-level workflow.

With the release of Stage 1 of Edit Flow, WordPress users can now assign custom statuses to posts, giving them more control over the state of their content.

Adding/Editing/Managing Custom Statuses

The interface to add, edit and manage custom statuses.

Upon activation, the plugin adds five default statuses (“Assigned”, “Draft”, “Pending Review”, “Pitch”, “Waiting for Feedback”). These can all be edited or deleted (with the exception of “Draft” and “Pending Review”, which can only be deleted). Users can also add additional custom statuses. Overall, we tried to make this as flexible as possible, acknowledging the extreme diversity in workflows and requirements across different newsrooms.

[Read more…]