Megan Taylor

web developer, hack-n-slasher, freelancer, news & data junkie, bibliophile, Flyers fan, sci-fi geek and kitteh servant

How does The Independent Florida Alligator score?

I love lists. They give me direction, options, and when completed, a sense of accomplishment.

Bryan Murley recently reposted his checklist of things college media sites should consider. Of course my first thought was to see how my own college media outlet is doing:

* Have you got your news org. online?

The Alligator has been online for a while, although until recently the site left much to be desired.

* Do you have a content management system?

We just launched the new Alligator site with a content management system and a new design. Yay!

* Have you posted any videos online?

Yes we have. In fact, on Thursday two reporters handed me video – a first!

* Have you included any audio soundbites in a story?

I have the soundbites on my computer…they just haven’t made it to the correct format for the Web site yet.

* Have you done a photo slideshow?

Yes, several.

* Have you put up an audio slideshow (perhaps using Soundslides)?

Yes.

* Have you done a map?

Yes.

* Have you used weblogs on your site?

Like the soundbites, this is in the works.

* Have you uploaded source documents (PDFs, excel spreadsheets, etc.) to accompany a big story?

YES! Even on the old site, documents were often uploaded when provided by the reporters.

* Have you used social media (Facebook, MySpace, YouTube) to market your stories?

There is an Alligator Facebook group, and individual articles on the new site now feature sharing tools.

* Have you tracked what others are saying about you via Technorati or Google Blogsearch?

Nope.

* Have you used the web site to post breaking news online FIRST?

Still trying to figure this one out. We have put a couple f breaking sports stories up before they went to print though.

* Have you moved the online editor out of the back office and into a position of authority?

Well, I guess we kind of moved ourselves out of the back office.

* Have you allowed comments on your stories?

Yes. I have been pleasantly surprised with the intelligence of many of the comments posted to the site. We decided not to review comments and to remove them only if a complaint was lodged, or if we saw a “flame war” starting up.

* Have you encouraged writers to write for the Web and include hyperlinks in their stories?

I’m hoping this will go hand-in-hand with blogging. Right now, when we are putting up new stories, if we see an opportunity for a link, it goes in.

* Have you tried something experimental?

We’ve got a few projects in the works, but right now energy is tied up in making the workflow efficient and working the kinks out of the new site.

So far, I think we’re doing pretty good! Of course, in this case, the “checklist” is never really completed. But I’ll be happy if I can get out of the office by 1:30 a.m. every night instead of 3 a.m.

6 Comments

  1. Congrats, Megan, both on the forethought at the Alligator and your new gig as New Media Managing Editor. I’m sure you’ll get the other checkboxes figured out soon. :-) (hint: the writing for the web one seems to give everyone fits)

  2. Congrats, Megan, both on the forethought at the Alligator and your new gig as New Media Managing Editor. I’m sure you’ll get the other checkboxes figured out soon. :-) (hint: the writing for the web one seems to give everyone fits)

  3. I know this is mostly focused on your own experiences so far, but in the past I did get reporters to include hyperlinks with their stories and we had audio soundbites with the Danny Rolling package and blogs for student goverment elections and the national football championship. And breaking news has been posted beyond sports stories. But it’s nice that you’ll be able to do more of that without even having to go into the office now. Any CMS is better than no CMS. :-)

  4. I know this is mostly focused on your own experiences so far, but in the past I did get reporters to include hyperlinks with their stories and we had audio soundbites with the Danny Rolling package and blogs for student goverment elections and the national football championship. And breaking news has been posted beyond sports stories. But it’s nice that you’ll be able to do more of that without even having to go into the office now. Any CMS is better than no CMS. :-)

  5. I know this is mostly focused on your own experiences so far, but in the past I did get reporters to include hyperlinks with their stories and we had audio soundbites with the Danny Rolling package and blogs for student goverment elections and the national football championship. And breaking news has been posted beyond sports stories. But it’s nice that you’ll be able to do more of that without even having to go into the office now. Any CMS is better than no CMS. :-)

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