Campus / News / February 28, 2008

The Knox Student goes online

Throughout this term The Knox Student has been in the process of developing an online version that will serve to extend the print edition and allow readers another, more immediate, venue for their news.

Content from this and last week’s issue of The Knox Student is now online at www.theknoxstudent.com.

The online edition, although it will contain all the content from the print version, will additionally include features that are impossible to incorporate without the assistance of technology.

For example, Online Editor Matt Baker said, “we would like to have video and audio content, and take advantagee of the things the web has to offer.”

In the near future, readers will be able to post comments about online articles, see lists of related links — both internal and external — and have access to online databases.

“By this time next year, or before, I would like to create something that involves taking data out of the paper and putting it into a database,” he said.

One of the primary databases Baker plans to implement is an interactive and searchable Campus Safety Log.

“I would like a student to be able to go to the website and ask for every alcohol violation in the Quads for the last three days, for example,” said Baker.

Among other plans are making it possible to search for photos by their captions and the people pictured in them. With this system readers could search for a name and the website would pull up all TKS photos showing the person of that name, as well as the articles those photos are connected to.

In addition to providing more content, the website could potentially provide faster access to news.

“I’m hoping to reach a point where an article can come in at any time and the site can be continually updated, instead of having a single, weekly update, like we do now,” said Baker. “I’d like to see students checking the website every day and seeing fresh content.”

Baker acknowledges that there are still some bugs.

“It’s been a good launch, but it’s a beta and it doesn’t render in Internet Explorer,” Baker said. “It’s hard to find the time to account for errors in Microsoft’s browser. We suggest users use Firefox or Safari.”

Although many other college publications use services like College Pub that produce and run the site for them, Baker said he feels that The Knox Student has bigger goals, and in order to accomplish those goals he had to build the website from the ground up.

“The Content Management System (CMS) was built using the Dja­­ngo web frame-work, and it’s written in python,” said Baker. “One of my goals with that was to make the website something that would be easy and intuitive for the staff to use, even after I’m gone, but also be something powerful that can turn into a great tool for Knox.”

Baker is looking to put together an online development team. If you are interested, you can contact him at mabaker@knox.edu.

Erin Coleman


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