Student Newspaper Broadside Ramps Up Its Web Site for Daily Content, Interactivity

Posted: February 7, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Lexi Soya

Mason students, faculty and staff are used to seeing and reading Broadside, the weekly student newspaper, on campus, but they may not be as well acquainted with Broadside Online, the newspaper’s web site. Until recently, the online version didn’t offer anything distinctly different from the print version.

Now, all that is changing.

Kathryn Mangus, faculty Broadside advisor, proposed the idea last semester, and the staff started working on it full time in December.

“It’s still a work in progress,” says Editor in Chief Jeremy Beales, who put in 80 hours working on the site last week alone. Though far from complete, the revamped site has been up and running since the first day of the semester.

“Technologically, Broadside Online will be fully functional by the end of the semester,” says Beales, “but really, this will never stop growing. In the future, new editors will push for new and innovative ideas.”

Beales says the biggest challenged they’ve faced is revamping the content of the newspaper online. “For seven years it’s been geared toward weekly publication, and now we’re trying to get in new content every day.”

Broadside is making other changes, too, which will allow it to expand its online presence. These changes include more frequent copy editing, new staff organization and a considerable increase in permanent staff members.

Exciting new projects are in the works for the web site, says Beales, such as a Mason-centric Wiki, a place for students to upload photos, links to Mason YouTube videos and a blog site for student leaders and Broadside leaders.

At the same time, the print version of the newspaper will remain essentially the same, Beales says, although with a larger staff and more stories going into the web site, there will be more choices for the print version to work with.

In addition to providing new content daily, the Broadside team has undertaken the renovation because it hopes to provide a place for the Mason community to come together online, Beales explains.

“There are a lot of different Mason groups, but there isn’t a lot of communication between them,” he says. “I’d like to open up the floor on the web site for the whole Mason community.”

Eventually, Beales hopes the site will not only be a place to come for Mason news and information, but also a site where students can jump in and contribute.

“We’re shooting for interactivity,” says Beales, “and with a real web presence, we’ll be able to reach a lot more people.”

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