The Future of the Phoenix

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Today was my first meeting where I was actually on staff for the Phoenix. Since we were all excited about the new year, we talked about what we wanted the newspaper to look like for 2009, which just so happened to focus almost entirely around my job. We can’t ignore the fact that journalism is moving towards the internet. In fact, it’s already there, and the professional community is just dragging its feet pretending to keep up. A good 70% of the meeting was devoted just to what we want to make available on the website. Here are some of the biggest items– let me hear what you think.

1] PDF/email editions of the paper. Not only would we have those downloadable copies of the weekly edition, but we want to be able to send out email copies of individual breaking stories as they happen. Like, for instance, the fire that woke me up at 7 am this morning.

2] Blogs. A point was made that we already have a lot of editorial material in the paper already, but we love to blog. Everyone does. What we really hope to capture with it, though, is guest-blogging by non-journalist types. For the sports section, we could have the point guard write a blog about his experiences throughout the season. And the water boy can do the same. There are a lot of fun things that newspaper-linked blogs could do. Especially FEEDBACK (plz to leave feedback kthx).

3] Advanced slideshows. Right now, our slideshows are 240 pixels wide, and poor quality, at that. If we could have a pop-out full-screen slideshow a-la-New York Times, that would be ideal. Those grey backgrounds just scream “professional.”

4] Video cameras. We want more multimedia. I want more multimedia. Not only does it look great, but it’s my job. The problem is, I only have two video cameras, which means that most staff writers won’t be able to make their own media for us, unless they buy their own equipment. While buying a small video camera (plenty can be had for less than $200, and even less if you buy used) is strongly recommended  to anyone trying to make a career for themselves in journalism these days, the number of students that will actually do so is probably rather small. Especially since we can’t pay writers for their work. The solution, then (kind of) is to buy some cheap Flip cameras and lend them out. We’ll see how the budget handles that.

5] Twitter. I’m not crazy about Twitter (as has been mentioned) but it’s proven itself to be a powerful force in “new” journalism. So the idea is we should get one. We won’t be able to have any editorial control over the posts, but hey, how much damage can you do in 140 characters?

6] “About us.” Our contacts are out of date. If people want to get ahold of us, it’s not that easy. In order to get more writers/attendance at meetings, we’re going to make the contacts easy to get to, and easy to use. That one’s simple.

7] Scoreboards. The sports section needs them. DONE. Also, emailing out win/loss alerts as they happen would be a nice up-to-date touch for our sports section, which is largely ignored on our website. Hopefully we can turn that around.

8] Flash. It’s flashy. I’m not crazy about it (high-bandwidth/unlinkable/hard on older computers) but it looks sharp. Maybe in moderation.

Anyway, I’m really hoping to make this website good. Perhaps the best. Why not?

For any of you who are only tuning in for the mashups, sorry to make you wait so long. Here’s some MIA for all of you hipsters out there.

If that’s too exciting, this should calm you down.

I love Calexico, so even though this one is short, I want to show it off.

If you want more, check back tomorrow!

One response to “The Future of the Phoenix

  1. i have to say, i already kind of miss newspapers. but i love flash! did nick show you that one girl thing?

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