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Collegian Redesign: “New Era” Not Without Problems

As you are now probably aware, The Daily Collegian website has adopted a new look. The site started sporting the new design last Monday. It is a marked departure from the plain old blue-and-white interface.

Collegian editor-in-chief Liz Murphy said that the new version is the fruit of over a year’s labor. Overall, the Collegian’s intent was to bring their newspaper’s content closer to a growing online readership. “We aren’t just a newspaper,” says Murphy. “We are a source for Penn State news, no matter the medium.”

The new features are thanks to the latest version of Movable Type. The chief emphasis of the redesign is flexibility, something that was extremely limited with the old site; Murphy and web editor Andrew Metcalf are quick to point out that the site’s layout now changes three times per day. While the paper is only printed once per day, news occurs continuously. The Collegian updated their website, and their content, to function better with respect to that. “The site is always changing,” says Metcalf.

Social media tie-ins were a driving force behind the redesign. Stories can now be linked with Foursquare venues and a new, more improved Twitter integration is on its way.

While on the old platform, the Collegian’s blogs were difficult to find, they now have a more prominent place on the site. The new platform lends itself to a more uniform format for both traditional articles and blogs, making them interchangeable; the Collegian is starting to put the two types of content together on its web pages. However, as of Sunday night, the “All Blogs” link is broken and there are no blog posts yet featured or mixed with the news stories.

Metcalf admits that the site was not “100% complete” when it was launched, and that the staff is “well aware” of that. Rather than unveiling a fixed update, the Collegian “wanted to get feedback on many features of the site before [it] finalized them.”

Evidently there are a few kinks still left to be ironed out. The new color scheme has come under criticism, and the conspicuous absence of a search feature is puzzling. In addition, links to old, archived articles are currently broken, which has posed problems not only for the paper’s readers, but unfortunately also for past and current Collegian reporters who need to show their work to prospective employers.

Certainly a rocky transition is nothing unheard of. In a switch as big as this, especially when the product is not fully complete, problems are to be expected. Nevertheless this does mark a significant shift for how the paper, and their associated blogs, are read.

“We’re incredibly proud of this site,” says Metcalf. “It represents a new era for the Collegian.

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About the Author

Dan McCool

Dan is a senior and has been writing for Onward State since January 2010. Did you miss him? Nah, neither did we. He's returning after a semester abroad in England and will be serving as Arts Editor. Favorite things in life include references to The Big Lebowski.

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