Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Web Watch 3

Mid-week in the middle of September and there appear to still be a lot of schools that have not started with their online editions. Starting a new school year is tough and first priority goes to getting out the first print edition. In the meantime news that could be covered in a timely fashion online goes uncovered. Such a shame.

Looks like newcomers who have started their online publications include Chaffey, Glendale, Long Beach, Palomar and San Joaquin Delta. Mt. San Antonio College, which under new adviser Toni Albertson will not publish its first edition until October, already is updating its site. The six new schools brings the total of JACC colleges that have started their online editions to just 15.

The online publication has to be an integral part of process, not an add-on. Involve the whole staff, not just one or two specialists.

In viewing the various sites an interesting question has come up. You've heard Robert Mercer argue that stories should be posted online first and in print last (rather than the other way around most of us do). Certainly for those publishing less than weekly (daily?) this is even more important. But how does your site date its content? Most of us think in weekly (or less often) issues. But it is interesting to decipher when sites have been updated. Most of us use "Issue Date" to date our sites. The Cypress folks do not like that and put "Today's Date" on the front page. You have no clues how long the stories on the front page have been there.

Then there is LA Trade Tech, which uses "Today's Date", but hasn't been updated for three years. And there is the Lassen and City College of San Franciso and Shasta, which have no date on the front page, so you have to deduce from the story content that they have not been updated since spring. Which works best? An issue date, today's date or no date?

This week's notables:
  • Glendale, which is probably one of the last publications that signed with Digital Partners and hasn't been migrated to a new format by College Publisher, includes a El Vaquero blog that contains info on the newspaper-pulling saga of last spring.
  • There are a number of 9/11 memorial stories in papers this week. Cerritos includes a slide show.
  • Palomar has an interesting story many of us can all do. Does the Nov. 4 statewide education bond measure contain money earmarked for a project on your campus?
  • Sacramento has pulled all of its content off the front page while it builds a new issue. A blank front page?
  • Hopefully, it will be fixed by the time you check, but SJ Delta's lead photo is pitch black. This was caused because the jpg image is in CMYK instead of RGB format. Some web sites can handle that, but College Publisher sites need to make sure that their online images are RGB before the compress them.

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