It’s finally here!

We want to hear your thoughts and suggestions, so please be sure to visit our feedback page.

Check out the introductory video by Editor in Chief Matthew Bunch on the homepage. Also, read his welcome letter.

The main goal was to create a more user-friendly site that is clean and easy to navigate. In addition, we wanted to best serve our online audience by including new features.

Some features to note:

  • Increased prominence for multimedia on every page with a SlideShowPro player on the right widget bar.
  • A video player on the homepage and the ability to embed a video or slideshow as the lead item, in place of the standard photo.
  • Increased prominence for blogs in the right widget bar, which displays the latest posts.
  • The ability to easily change front page layouts to one of several templates.
  • Web forms to submit a letter to our advice columnist, a letter to the editor and general feedback.
  • A SlideShowPro player to display front and section covers in the right widget bar.
  • Easy-to-find e-mail and RSS subscription links displayed graphically and textually in the top right corner.
  • Text message alerts.
  • A tag cloud.

We have 100 percent control over everything since we are hosting the site on our server. This not only allows us enormous freedom for content but also for the business office to sell ads online.

This site not only represents a huge shift from College Publisher to WordPress, but also a shift in the direction of The Hurricane to an even greater emphasize online. For instance, the Web site will no longer be updated and categorized by issue — it will be updated as news develops.

It all began with a goal I made as the editor in chief-elect in late spring 2007 to completely overhaul The Miami Hurricane site.

While this new site has been my initiative since the beginning and I have overseen the entire project, this beta site would not exist without the hard work and dedication of Webmaster Brian Schlansky. Brian has done everything technical on the side, from setting up the server to installing WordPress to importing the archives to designing and coding the site.

Special thanks for working on this beta site also goes to Editor in Chief Matthew Bunch, Visuals Editor Shayna Blumenthal and Business Manager Nick Maslow. I’ve drafted up a full list of people to thank — there are many — that I will post when the final site launches.

Weigh in: What do you think? Please share your thoughts on the ease of use, design, colors, features and anything else you see.

Or, if you’d like to contact someone directly, visit the staff listing page.

New Miami Hurricane site begins public beta Aug. 1

After months of discussing the new Miami Hurricane site on this blog and Twitter, from our consideration of Drupal to our ultimate selection of WordPress, the public beta version will launch this Friday, Aug. 1.

It’s a pretty sweet site and it’s even better than we expected. I’m tempted to drop the link now, but I will show restraint.

Hurricane webmaster Brian Schlansky has been toiling on the technical side since installing on our old file server Ubuntu in mid-April and WordPress in late April. He’s been manipulating PHP, editing CSS, adding/tweaking plug-ins and doing what ever need to be to prepare us for the beta launch.

We started with this theme and have come quite a long way.

One of biggest hurdles, which Brian cleared with surprising ease, was transferring the Hurricane’s College Publisher archives to the MySQL database for WordPress.

He and I have been in touch almost daily, corresponding for countless hours via instant message and Skype. Incoming editor in chief and longtime blogmaster Matt Bunch has contributed throughout the process, as has returning business manager Nick Maslow.

All four of us spoke on Skype Monday night to make sure we’re ready for Friday’s beta launch.

I will write another post when we launch the beta, giving a general overview. Everything in the site is pretty straightforward, which was part of one of our big goals: ease of use.

Stay tuned…

Editor term comes to an end

It’s over. One year. Fifty issues. Many, many great memories.

Monday’s issue was my last as editor in chief of The Miami Hurricane. We made great strides forward this year in print and online, and I can’t wait until our new Web site debuts in August (yes, I still need to do an update post on this).

I’d like to thank all of this year’s editors for their hard work and wish those who are graduating the best of luck.

For the continuing and new editors, keep on rockin’ the news — you guys are going to do great things. Here’s the new staff list:

Editor in Chief
Matthew Bunch (moving up from sports editor and blogmaster)

Visuals Editor
Shayna Blumenthal

News Editor
Chelsea Kate Isaacs (promoted from assistant news)

Assistant News Editors
Erika Capek (promoted from staff news writer)
Edward Fishman (promoted from contributing news writer)

Opinion Editor
Joshua Newman (new)

EDGE Editor
Dan Buyanovsky (continuing in position)

Sports Editor
Pravin Patel (promoted from assistant sports editor)

Assistant Sports Editor
Christina Di Nicola (promoted from senior sports writer)

Photography Editor
Chelsea Matiash (promoted from assistant photo editor)

Assistant Photo Editor
Steve Root (promoted from staff photographer)

Brian Schlansky (continuing)

Multimedia Editor
Ryan Ondriezek (continuing)

Assistant Multimedia Editor

Copy Desk Chief
Nate Harris (promoted from copy editor)

I’m still undecided on what my role with the paper will be next year, but I plan to do something with online and multimedia. For one, Brian Schlansky and I will be working on the new site during the summer and beyond.

Now, back to working on a final project and (trying) to study for my two finals.

"The Paper" used to be my paper

I learned last school year that MTV would be doing a multi-part “documentary” about my high school newspaper, The Circuit. I was skeptical of how the network that brought you “My Super Sweet 16” would cover a journalism class/newspaper and I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Here is the trailer for “The Paper

The show premiered Monday night after being released Thursday for free on iTunes.

I’ve met most of the kids featured and I didn’t notice any such rancor when I visited, but obviously there’s a wee bit of tension — or more than a wee bit. Nevertheless, they’ve put out some great issues this year, so I can report [spoiler warning?] that the newsroom does not burn down.

As a “reality show,” it is of course not actual reality because people are always going to play to the camera, particularly when two of the featured staffers have been in drama club. Try to guess which ones by commenting below.

I’ll be visiting again sometime during the week of April 28 and perhaps I will do an interview with the featured players and Mrs. Weiss, the most awesome high school newspaper adviser ever.

Stay tuned for that, and the rest of the series — Mondays at 10:30 p.m. on MTV.

Side note: The Miami Hurricane was approached last year by a group that wanted to a reality show about us called “The Chronicles.” We got a good laugh from the mock-up flyer/poster, which hangs in my office, because of how hyped the concept was.

We thought it would be a pretty boring show since there was no office drama and declined.

Weigh in: Did you watch “The Paper?” What did you think?

Related links

MTV’s ‘The Paper’: Where Teens, Journalism and Coolness Meet – Mallary Tenore

Meet some teenagers who are passionate about journalism – Romanesko

MTV‘s New Show Called “The Paper” – premieres on April 14 – Wired Journalists

MTV to air series on high school newspaper – Student Newspaper Survival Blog

MTV on High School ‘Paper‘ Trail – Editor & Publisher

Nevada Sagebrush uses Twitter to liveblog editor selection meeting

The Nevada Sagebrush (University of Nevada Reno) liveblogged its editor selection meeting Saturday afternoon using Twitter.

The tweets were very comprehensive and, needless to say, flooded my Twhirl window for the duration of the meeting, but it was all good fun.

Thanks to Chelsea Otakan for directing followers of her Twitter account to the Sagebrush’s.

In an interesting twist, I recognized in an early tweet that one my fellow Miami Herald summer 2008 interns is on staff at the Sagebrush. It’s a small world after all.

Weigh in: Does your news organization use Twitter?

Shameless plug: The Miami Hurricane‘s page.

(Since you’re in the neighborhood, check out mine too.)