How we did it: Moving The Miami Hurricane from College Publisher to WordPress

September 3rd, 2008 § 14 comments § permalink

This post also appears on the Innovation in College Media blog.

The question we’ve heard most often since launching the new TheMiamiHurricane.com is, “How did you do it?” Below, Webmaster Brian Schlansky offers a comprehensive explanation of the process, from setting up our own Web server to installing WordPress to importing our College Publisher archives.

For more background, check out these posts:

Enjoy!

Greg Linch
Editor at Large for Online and Multimedia
Former Editor in Chief (fall 2007 to spring 2008)
The Miami Hurricane

To contact me, visit www.greglinch.com or e-mail greglinch[at]gmail.com.

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We have lift-off! The new Miami Hurricane site is live

August 25th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

The redesigned TheMiamiHurricane.com is now live! No big surprises, if saw the beta site. Lots of big surprises if you missed the beta.

For an idea of what was going on right when we launched, check out my Twitter account late Sunday night, beginning a little before midnight: twitter.com/greglinch.

Webmaster Brian Schlansky (Twitter) has written an in-depth account of the technical side of the entire redesign process, which will be posted on the Innovation in College Media blog and republished here. I plan to introduce the post with an overview from my perspective of leading the project.

Finally, I’ve drafted a long list of people to thank, which I will post here as well. Thanks again to everyone!

Weigh in: What do you think of the new site?

Related Posts

Check out my new digs at WordPress

August 18th, 2008 § 2 comments § permalink

After more than 10 months of calling Blogger home, The Linchpen has moved to WordPress.

A screenshot of my new WordPress blog, which uses the "WP Premium" theme.

A screenshot of my new WordPress blog.

Oh, the freedom!

I’ve become much more familiar with WordPress since working on The Miami Hurricane‘s beta site with Webmaster Brian Schlansky. My new site is hosted by WebFaction, which I selected after hearing rave reviews on Twitter (thanks to everyone who replied to my question!).

The lovely theme you see here (unless you’re using RSS; in that case, see the photo) is called WP Premium and was designed by R.Bhavesh.

In addition to the standard features, I’ve installed and activated the following plugins (though not all may be in use at the time of posting):

Thanks to Daniel Bachhuber for the idea to list all these on dedicated page so people can easily see what I’m using.

Well, don’t just sit there, explore the new site! If you have any suggestions or find any problems, please contact me.

Announcing beta.themiamihurricane.com

August 1st, 2008 § 1 comment § permalink

It’s finally here! beta.themiamihurricane.com

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

July 29th, 2008 § 3 comments § permalink

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…

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