Website carries coverage into 21st century, beyond

Jason Howell, Online Editor

Created during a time before the likes of Twitter and WordPress, the Web presence of The Daily Eastern News has seen different versions during its 14-year existence stored on a server.

The first iteration of the website was used as an online repository for stories that appeared in the print version, but the online staff also produced Web-specific content.

In addition, two other websites existed at various stages that complemented the main News website and gave more students an opportunity to work for an online outlet.

These were called Where It’s @ Magazine and Pounce Online.

Both websites, produced by students under the guidance of journalism professor Brian Poulter, contained more feature-type pieces that did not appear in the regular website for The News.

Eventually, @Mag became Pounce Online, which later merged into the main News website hosted by College Publisher.

The early News website featured content such as video and audio podcasts, interactive flash pages and SoundSlides, among others, according to online adviser Bryan Murley.

Brian Poulter, photo adviser for The News and the Warbler yearbook, said that The Daily Eastern News has always been a little bit ahead of the curve when it comes to adopted technologies.

The Daily Eastern News was one of the first college newspapers to have an online presence,” he added.

The News parted company with College Publisher and then used TownNews as its website platform. But TownNews “was very expensive and not very user-friendly for a staff that is constantly turning over every year or two,” Murley said.

After TownNews, The News transitioned to hosting its website through School Newspapers Online, which uses WordPress as its platform and costs less than TownNews.

The use of WordPress allows blogging and multimedia skills to be taught in journalism classes with real-world application applied to the News’ website.

Eastern journalism alum Stephen Haas said the knowledge he gained at Eastern helped him in his career.

“Shooting, even just as a photographer, thinking about things for the web, is essential,” he said.  “Whether it would be extra things for a gallery or could I do a video for this.”

Haas, who served stints as photo editor and online editor, said he had to think about getting photos up quickly to the website.

“That’s essential, no matter what size paper you’re working at,” he said.  “It’s not a print first and then shove it all to website.” 

All of these skills allows students to make the transition from the classroom to real-world practice once they find jobs post-graduation.

“I think what’s always been the strength of our department is we’re usually ahead of the larger industry,” Poulter said.

Jason Howell can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]