The best college newspaper websites have a combination of integrated print stories, online only features, great site design, technical skill and most importantly the incorporation of unique multimedia elements. Here are some great examples from around the US:
InsideVandy, Vanderbilt University
What it lacks in cohesive organization, InsideVandy makes up for in its massive amounts of content. Well-written print stories take residence next to video, podcasts and slideshows. The site also has a host of bloggers to provide fresh content and a section of stories and multimedia specifically targeted toward new students.
The University Daily Kansan, University of Kansas
Professional design is only the backbone of the journalistic prowess happening at The Kansan. The site features 12 blogs, three podcast series and a smattering of video on everything from sports to politics.
The State News, Michigan State University
At first glance The State News’ online presence looks a little bare bones. But once you start clicking around you’ll find incredible video pieces, one-of-a-kind interactives and sports coverage of more than 15 teams. It’s clear that multimedia is the star at The State News.
The State Hornet, California State University, Sacramento
Aside from its forward-thinking “Eat Me or Not” and comprehensive YouTube channel, the Hornet also has a varied number of podcasts to accompany its features, sports and opinions section and video of campus news. The useful information in The Hornet’s election section is supplemented by audio clips and message boards. The icing on the cake is the site’s well-designed pages that highlight its comprehensive news coverage.
Indiana Daily Student, Indiana University
Arguably the most impressive feature of the Indiana Daily Student are its student blogs on sports, news, politics and the arts, each with easily identifiable icons that make subscribing to RSS feeds a snap. Its many slideshows, videos and podcasts are top notch and organized in a user-friendly layout. Other outstanding content includes a dining guide, a religious directory for searching area churches and a housing guide for finding the perfect pad. This is all supplemented with polls and video from the Associated Press.
The Ithacan, Ithaca College
Perhaps the only thing preventing The Ithacan from perfection is the wonky and distracting slideshow element on the front page. Everything else, design-wise, is clean and well-organized which makes reading stories on the site a pleasant experience. Its six blogs, excluding one on hiatus, cover campus news, pop culture, music and more. Most importantly, they are constantly updated. The Ithacan’s multimedia page takes a life of its own with well-reported video and podcasts and stunning photo galleries and audio slideshows.
The Independent Florida Alligator, University of Florida
The Alligator is hands down the best online student newspaper and rivals the pros in its news coverage and use of multimedia elements. Just listing the stellar components that make up the site warrant its own individual post. The Alligator’s standout features are the Gainesville Explorer, a look at the surrounding city using video and audio slideshows, the use of Google Maps mashups to illustrate problems like apartment overcrowding and rising gas prices, and its 11 blogs that cover pretty much every spectrum of news. Admittedly The Alligator works on a larger scale than most student newspapers, but it is nevertheless an exceptional example of the possibility of online student journalism.
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