Kelowna web design firm, Twin Creek Media, has been working with The Phoenix News—the University of British Columbia – Okanagan student newspaper on a new and improved website. July 2012 marked the date that The Phoenix rose the ashes of it’s former self. Sorry, we couldn’t help the attempt at a witty literary reference.
They’re a neat little bunch – the newsies. The newspaper has been around since 1989 and is self-governed by elected student staff. This non-profit organization allows students a hands-on approach to the journalism world, putting together their own news source with article-writing, information-sourcing, photography, and newspaper design and layout. Each year, both staff members and contributors alike receive a chance to attend NASH, a national student journalism conference held by the Canadian University Press. Here, students can meet with their peers from other universities across Canada, as well as with industry experts from newspapers such as The Globe and Mail.
At the end of 2011, The Phoenix was notified that their website service was shutting down. While unfortunate, it came as the perfect opportunity for The Phoenix team to overhaul its website design, as well as its limited back-end system.
Twin Creek’s Lead Designer, Christina Van, commented:
Being a physically printed newspaper, their website ran as an after thought of their journalistic efforts. Articles were posted online after being printed and left there to collect dust with not much interaction from the readers. The site receives over a thousand hits per month… the numbers look good on paper, but they’re not much use if no one’s engaging with the content and keeping the dust off.
The new site has a sleeker, more contemporary look and feel. Along with being able to comment on articles, readers can now tweet, share, and spread the news to their friends. Upcoming features will include a snazzy photo stream of campus and community life, as well as a video channel for any sort of broadcast journalism, including coverage on UBCO Student Union activities. This will allow The Phoenix to connect more with the university students, rather than just the one-way communication of the newspaper.
As the student-elected staff differs from year to year, it’s often difficult to keep track of information or important tasks such as renewing website hosting, and domain names. Twin Creek Media hopes to help The Phoenix News in making sure that their website is in perfect working condition, even as the staff members come and go. Twin Creek Media chose to build the new UBCO student newspaper site on the WordPress platform for ease of use, quick editing and publishing, and strength as a multi-author blogging tool.
The new, shinier website—with it’s stronger back end administration capabilities—will definitely encourage the newspaper’s student staff to promote The Phoenix’s online presence. I know it’s been on their minds to push themselves, both on the website and in social media, and this new website will definitely provide a lot more flexibility in doing so.
To visit The Phoenix News website, visit http://www.thephoenixnews.com.