College Media News / Websites

Miami Hurricane's new beta site launches; feedback sought


Greg Linch announces the new iteration of the Miami Hurricane web site, which is now powered by WordPress (see our previous coverage here). Check out the beta site and send them feedback if you’re interested (full-screen capture of the front page below the fold).

Greg gives a run-down of some main features of the new site:

  • 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.

Okay, so I’m not so sure a tag cloud is a significant feature to note (I kid!), but it’s a good looking front page. It’s a modestly-priced, professionally designed WordPress theme by WooThemes.

The front page is clean and well-organized, although I’d prefer one column of content to be a little more dominant. As it is, it looks like there are two basically equal columns (left and right) and a thinner column between.

The inside pages are similarly well-aligned, although photos are posted flush left, under the byline (see this story for an example), which is a bit disconcerting. Generally speaking, you want to position the photo flush right, to connect the headline, byline and first paragraphs of the story. Of course, you could always go flush left if you post the photo a paragraph or so down into the story.

A more significant complaint, from a multimedia standpoint, is the way some of the video for stories is buried at the bottom of the story (see this sports story for an example).

I hope that’s not a trend, as the video should be as prominent at the top of the story as the single photograph, else few will get to the third screen to watch it.

All in all, however, I see mostly positives in the beta version of the site. If I were a college online journalist at Miami, I’d be plenty excited about the potential for the new year.

The Hurricane and the Temple News both switched to WordPress for content management this year, and it’ll be interesting to see how they (and the CMS) handle the transition.

hurricane beta

Click the thumbnail for a full-page view.

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