HOW TO C R E AT E A W O R D P R E S S WEBSITE
Publisher Marshalltown Times-Republic
willing to answer questions. Having said that there is also a wealth of information online. Most Wordpress themes have an assortment of video tutorials to help people along the way. I also highly encourage those developing a site to visit jeadigitalmedia.org and www.jeadigitalmedia.org/ Guide-To-Moving-Online/ Their guide to moving online, which I also contributed, contains an excellent array of tutorials how-tos and more indepth explanations of the topics in the following pages. If you are viewing this document online then all the links are active. Click away and you should make it to the websites. Good luck and I can honestly say going through this process was the best educational experience I have had with students.
T S1 GET A HOST
To start a website using Wordpress the first step is to a call a hosting service like Go Daddy. Popular hosting providers like GoDaddy can be found at
When you call a hosting service you will need a web address and make sure to tell them you will be using a Wordpress content management system or CMS.
jonROGERS Iowa City High - Adviser MJE JEA Digital Media Board Member
What is Wordpress? The following is a defintion from WORDPRESS.ORG WordPress started in 2003 with a single bit of code to enhance the typography of everyday writing and with fewer users than you can count on your fingers and toes. Since then it has grown to be the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, used on millions of sites and seen by tens of millions of people every day.
“My advice to any high school newspaper advisor is, if you don’t have a website, start one!”
don’t want the paper to die. Will anyone read what I write online? How do we start? Will the school let us do it? All of these questions came from students when we considered going online. The worst part was that there wasn’t a guide or textbook to show us how to get it done. A world without textbooks is exciting, but also daunting. After going through the process of working through all of the above questions, I decided to try and create a guide for high school journalism advisers looking to create a “real” website. This guide is also serving as my Master Journalism Educator project for JEA. There are other options out there, but I believe Wordpress is the easiest, most cost effective, and best way to go online. Beyond these pages, I highly encourage journalism teachers to pick up the phone. We are lucky to work in a profession that has so many helpful colleagues that are more than
WordPress is an Open Source project, which means there are hundreds of people all over the world working on it. (More than most commercial platforms.) It also means you are free to use it for anything from your cat’s home page to a Fortune 500 web site without paying anyone a license fee and a number of other important freedoms. About WordPress.org
On this site you can download and install a software script called WordPress. To do this you need a web host who meets the minimum requirements and a little time. WordPress is completely customizable and can be used for almost anything. There is also a service called WordPress.com which lets you get started with a new and free WordPress-based blog in seconds, but varies in several ways and is less flexible than the WordPress you download and install yourself.
T H E M E UPLOAD Well,
T H E G R AT E F U L D E A D
“The worst thing a high school paper can do is release a website that doesn’t have much content.”
ADVISER - Franci Howell North
out the web. “I feel like the most difficult part is getting a previously paper-only staff enthused by the thought of immediate story uploads,” Davis Vonk, Executive Editor of The Little Hawk, said. “I think for a lot of people the key is to not get discouraged by major news websites like the New York Times that actually have the resources to publish 24/7. We have to remember that we are a high school newspaper and uploading a few times a week is awesome.” It is tempting to publicize the site after it is functional, but a long training period where content can be uploaded will help to keep the site active. Loyalty of viewers will also be much higher with a well developed site.
UPLOAD A THEME
Themes can be found all over the internet. There are free themes, but most good themes run around $50. Make sure the technical support is good with the theme as they will be the ones you contact with any problems. Two popular sites for themes are Woo Themes and WPZOOM.
There are two ways of uploading your theme to your website. One uses the back door to your site and the other uses an FTP uploader like Filezilla. Both ways are described in the following video tutorial from WPZoom.
POSTING BACKDOOR So where do you go to actually post stories and photos to your site?
fter a hosting service has been set up the next step is to pick out a theme and upload content. Themes can be found all over the web. The best advice is to get one with good support. The free themes usually lack support and much of the ease of a premium or paid for themes. Once a theme is found then the staff should spend the next three to six months learning how to upload stories and building up the site. As Aaron Manfull told me the worst thing a paper can do is release a website without much content. Balancing the development of a website and print editions can be a challenge for students who have worked their whole life with-
POST CONTENT Start uploading content. Most advisers I have spoken with recommend a three to six month window of uploading stories, photos, video and podcasts before publicizing the site. This will also allow a staff time to learn how to use the Wordpress theme. GO ONLINE
You will go to your backdoor.
The backdoor will have a web address like... www.thetimes.com/wp-admin
From this web page you will enter in your log in and password. After logging into your website you will make posts that are filled with stories and photos. Different Wordpress themes will have different ways to make these posts come to life on your site.
Most have video tutorials that will instruct you on how to make posts on your website.
A theme is the basic layout of the website.
Don’t be shocked if your theme looks different than the pictures of what it can look like on the theme creator’s website. Once you have uploaded dozens of posts and added widgets your site will begin to take shape.
OR LET A STUDENT ONLINE EDITOR OR TEAM LEAD THE WAY. BUILD UP THE SITE FOR THREE TO SIX MONTHS BEFORE PUBLICIZING IT. USE GOOGLE ANALYTICS TO SHOW STUDENTS THEIR WORK IS BEING VIEWED. LINK THE SITE TO FACEBOOK AND TWITTER. INCREASE FACEBOOK FANS BY HAVING CONTESTS. HAVE FUN WITH THE NEW TECHNOLOGY!
tarting out my students had far more concerns about going online than I did. They worried a great deal about their stories being read, if the newspaper would survive and if people would read their stories online. All valid concerns and I worked to convince them the website would work well in combination with the paper. It isn’t being created to take over the paper, but to compliment it with breaking news, a space for more photos, video, and to showcase the print edition. To get it started there were a few strategies that have been experimented with and I will reference what a few other staffs do to publish online and in print. The questions we began with included whether the staff be working on both the paper and website, should a separate staff be dedicated to the website, should teams take turns working on the website, or should individuals have certain projects. To overcome the challenge of organizing a variety of new projects that can go on the web it is a good idea to put one student in charge. This can be labeled as a new Online Editor or Convergence Editor.
“A reliable convergence editor is crucial. I think it would be intelligent to have a convergence editor and several web-only writers atop the regular staff just to ensure weekly uploads, especially during deadline week for the print edition,” Vonk said. A good Online Editor will work to help the staff experiment with videos, live updates, Twitter feeds, a Facebook page, photo slide shows, and covering breaking news.
uploading content to the website. This structure ensures new posts are created daily. Aaron Manfull, JEA digital media chair, who advises the Pacemaker winning site FHNtoday.com follows this structure.
the number of hits. It is important for them to see the actual numbers,” Manfull said.
For the Hoover Challenger Timm Pilcher goes with individual responsibility.
Mike Schlesinger from the Marshalltown Times said that his web hits go up by 10,000 with the addition of video.
“Everyone on staff is responsible for posting his or her own pages and stories; the entire staff blogs weekly as well,” he said.
Adding video to stories, having a video section, and having a video sidebar with the latest video has also been one of the biggest draws on thelittlehawk.com. Most video is short clips from sporting events or school events without editing or commentary.
“A reliable convergence editor is crucial.”
“Choosing good people to run the staff is essential. I have minimal knowledge of the technological part of websites,” Ann Visser said. “But I know about content, I know about different ways to deliver content, etc. I don’t think you have to know everything.” Other options for organizing staffs include assigning students one day per month when they are responsible for
& C R E Z E I AT N
Whatever the organization the most important part of keeping a website working is buy in from the staff.
To get the staff bought in programs have contests on their site and Facebook pages, put laptops around the school, create posters with QR codes that link to the site, and use Google Analytics. Having the number of hits visable can make it real for students. “Put it up on the board and show them GO ONLINE
To build content editors and advisors also look beyond the written the word.
LINKS JEA DIGITAL MEDIA www.jeadigitalmedia.org
To conclude, no matter the structure getting three to five posts up a week with good breaking news keeps student newspaper websites alive.
Student enthusiam has come from having big hit days, being picked up by major media outlets, and having fun with the new technology.
My favorite part of using the website is to see students tweeting with famous journalists, having their stories linked in the local press, and beating out the local press on breaking news.
NY Times- Social Media Director
PLUG INS CAN BE USEFUL, BUT VIDEO SIDEBARS AND FACEBOOK LIKE BOXES ARE ADDED BY USING A TEXT WIDGET WITH AN EMBED CODE. GOOGLE CALENDARS ARE ALSO ADDED BY FILLING A TEXT WIDGET WITH THE EMBED CODE GIVEN ON THE GOOGLE CALENDAR SETTINGS PAGE. EXPERIMENT WITH DIFFERENT EMBEDDING OPTIONS. ISSUU, GOOGLE CALENDAR AND FACEBOOK ALL ALLOW FOR VARIOUS EMBEDDING OPTIONS. YOUTUBE AND VIMEO ALSO PROVIDE MANY DIFFERENT EMBEDDING OPTIONS.
Go to issuu.com and start a membership. The free membership should be all you need.
CREATE A PDF
Create PDF files of your publication to upload to ISSUU.
EMBED ON YOUR SITE
Copy and past the embed code into a text widget sidebar on you website. A plug in or addition to the site isn’t needed. Drag and drop a text widget before placing the code for your issuu box into the widget.
EMBED A GOOGLE CALENDAR
On a Google Calendar’s settings there will also be an HTML embed code. This code can also be copy and placed into a text widget on the webpage’s sidebar.
“We don’t really have any social media guidelines. We basically just tell people to use common sense and don’t be stupid.”
is also a group created for high school newspapers where you can share your publication with a growing number of other high school papers. At last count there were well over 50 high school papers sharing their publication on Issuu.com. After issuu many schools have added social media to their website. Facebook and Twitter both have embedable boxes that can be placed on sidebars. Details on how to do this are on the next page. The last embedding box that is used by most schools is a Google calendar box. Make sure to check out how to customize all of these boxes on the different sites.
fter a staff has learned the basics of posting there is an assortment of online products that can be embedded onto a website. The first embeddable product I would suggest is from issuu. com. Issuu always for the pdfs a newspaper sends to the publisher to be published online. From issuu an embed code can be created that will allow for the placement of the publication into the website. The viewer allows online readers to view in full page mode, turn the pages, and zoom in to read individual stories. This feature can easily be embedded into the Web site. On Issuu.com there
ANY HTML EMBED CODE CAN BE PLACED INSIDE A TEXT WIDGET ON WORDPRESS SITE.
TEXT WIDGETS ARE THE KEY TO EMBEDDING CONTENT IN THE SIDEBAR OF WORDPRESS SITES.
EMBED A FACEBOOK LIKE BOX
After creating a Facebook Fanpage a newspaper can create a Like Box on their page. Search Facebook for embeding a like box and there will be a page that will allow you to create an HTML code based on your Fan Page’s URL.
www.nileswestnews.org www.students.hw.com/chronicle NILES WEST NEWS Skokie, Illinois
THE CHRONICLE Los Angeles, California
T H E F O L L O W I N G S I T E S H A V E A L L B E E N A W A R D E D T H E PA C E M A K E R O R H AV E B E E N F I N A L I S T S F O R T H E I R W E B S I T E C O N T E N T A N D D E S I G N .
THE LITTLE HAWK Iowa City, Iowa
EL ESTOQUE Cupertino, California
PALY VOICE Palo Alto, California
EYE OF THE STORM Bend, Oregon
FHN TODAY St. Louis, Missouri GO DIGITAL
Hi Lite Carmel, Indiana
GOONLINE “The worst thing a high school paper can do is release a website that doesn’t have much content.”
ADVISER - Franci Howell North
“I desperately hope newspapers can survive, but someone has to figure out how to make that happen. Many of my students can’t imagine starting their days without reading anything - print or onlline.” “Choosing good people to run the staff is essential... I don’t think you have to know everything.”
c r e a t e
“Newspapers of the future will be a combination of print and online to a greater degree than they are now. With all the new technology coming forward, there will be greater applications for cross promoting between print and online... only our imaginations will limit what the future can bring to the web and print and the future of newspapers.” “Hits for stories with videos can go up by as much as 10,000 with the addition of video.”
ADVISER - Pella High School
“I think for a lot of people the key is to not get discouraged by major news websites like The New York Times... We have to remember that we are a high school newspaper and uploading a few times a week is awesome!”
Publisher Marshaltown Times-Republic
“The most important thing about adding an online presence is budgeting time with the staff to be online.”
ADVISER - Herbert Hoover High School
Former Little Hawk Executive Editor
The backdoor to a website is where publishers, writers, and adminstrators go to create posts and manage the website. The URL for the backdoor will be the web address followed by /wp-admin.
A type of website or part of a website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events or videos.
Content Management System (CMS) is a collection of procedures used to manage
work flow in a collaborative environment. These procedures can be manual or computer-based. Wordpress and Joomla are the most commonly used CMS.
For internet sites this means that code is generated so that sound slides, video, images, and music can appear on Web sites by simply copying and pasting the code into a post or sidebar.
The ability to interchange text, audio, and visual communication over the Internet has fundamentally transformed news organizations. Convergence has enabled media companies to gather, disseminate and share information over a variety of platforms.
A tool that can be added on or comes with most CMS themes where the owner can view how many people visit their site (hits) and thousands of other details about what is happening with the internet site.
to be or become fixed or incorporated, as into a surrounding mass.
A computer acting as an information or communications server.
A person or machine visiting a site.
An acronym for HyperText Markup Language, HTML is the language used to tag various parts of a Web document so browsing software will know how to display that document’s links, text, graphics and attached media. Products and services that provide information or entertainment using computers or the Internet, and not traditional methods such as televisions or