Archive for September, 2008

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Getting ready for leap to new online tool

September 7, 2008

Talon Marks editors and I have been spending the last few weeks learning the ins and outs of a new content management tool for talonmarks.com. College Publisher, our online partner since December 2000, is introducing a new, high-end tool for college publications and we’re part of the first wave of colleges and universities in the country –and most likely the first community college– to switch over to the tool. Over the next year or so approximately 550-600 other colleges and universities will join us.

Cerritos College is one of the first to switch over for several reasons: Talon Marks house ad

  1. We embrace change, especially as it helps us train our students best for future media jobs,
  2. I’ve been instrumental in helping other California community colleges make the leap to online publications, many of them with College Publisher, and
  3. It is likely that as other California community colleges make the switch over the next year, they’ll call on me to supplement the great over-the-phone training that College Publisher provides its education partners. The company is located on the east coast, though, and it helps California’s community colleges to have a volunteer on the ground that can help them master the new tool. I don’t work for College Publisher, but I do spend a lot of time traveling to other community colleges and helping train their staffs, as well as my own, to do online journalism better. And it will take a while of working with my own students to learn the tool well enough to do that.

There are a lot of advantages to the new system, but with those advantages comes additional complexity. We’re finding, though, that for most of what needs to be done on a daily basis, students can pick it up pretty easily. The true test will come after this Wednesday when we go live with the new tool. Will our new students, who are still learning to report and write be able to grasp the necessities of the new tool. It was just a week ago or two that we even introduced them to online publishing using the old version of College Publisher that has become part and parcel of what we do in publishing even the print edition.

The new version is still a tool, though, and what matters is how we use it. Developing content –and not just the standard written fare that we prepare for the print edition– is what is important. But the excitement of new possibilities is already spurring synergy for the changes we want to make. Click on the image above to see the house ad scheduled for this week’s print edition that outlines some of the online features we’ll have with the new version. And then check in starting Wednesday morning to see the new version when it goes live.

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