Lehigh University
Lehigh University


Brown and White re-launches online site

The redesigned Brown and White Web site launched Oct. 19.

When The Brown and White launched in January 1894, it turned students into reporters and gave the Lehigh community an on-campus news source.

The newspaper was published on Tuesdays and Fridays, except during the athletic seasons, when it came out on Thursdays and Mondays to quickly cover sporting events that took place on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons.

That sense of urgency to get “All the Lehigh News First” is still very much instilled in the staff that runs The Brown and White today. And 113 years later, a new milestone in the paper’s history will help further their cause.

Today, The Brown and White launched its new Web site in an effort to bring the publication in line with the demands of readers and the offerings of other news sources. The new site can now be found at thebrownandwhite.com, and features online exclusive articles, breaking news stories, and reader polls.

“It’s hard to imagine a better real-world experience than running a newspaper ... and we consider The Brown and White to be a regular newspaper, with an audience of students, faculty, staff, alums, parents and the general public,” says Wally Trimble, the paper’s faculty advisor and chair of the department of journalism and communication. “Having some online experience from college is helpful and probably necessary in today’s media environment.”

”A significant upgrade”

The Brown and White made its online debut in 1998. Today’s re-launch is the first “renovation” in six years, and reflects the content and interactivity that newspapers across the country have been incorporating into their online companions.

“Technology is changing and our site was outdated,” says Rich Shanfeld, editor-in-chief of The Brown and White. “This is a significant upgrade.”

Readers can register to receive e-mails with news updates and learn when new issues are published.

“Ideally this is going to drive students to our Web site. Hopefully this will become their way to get the news,” says Shanfeld, a senior journalism student.

Podcasts of The Brown and White Minute, a short radio spot recorded twice a week and played on WLVR 91.3 FM, will now be available online, featuring the top headlines in Lehigh news and sports. Blogs penned by the paper’s editors will be introduced later in the semester. And, readers who are unable to obtain the print edition can print a downloadable PDF file of The Brown and White.

After hashing out a design last semester, the newspaper enlisted the services of College Publisher, an online publishing technology and content management system designed specifically for college newspapers. Online faculty advisor Kathleen Olson says that College Publisher will provide technical expertise and the much-needed security of a new server that will accommodate added readership.

“With the new site, it’s more flexible for things like breaking news and multimedia features,” says Olson, associate professor in journalism and communication.

The partnership with College Publisher will also spread the paper’s reach. Articles from The Brown and White will be nationally syndicated, providing content to more than 260 campus newspapers, and Brown and White readers can see the top headlines from across the country.

“I think the new site will give The Brown and White more professionalism, credibility and exposure,” says Marjan Maghbouleh, online managing editor.

Trimble, the Brown and White faculty advisor, says hosting the site off campus will also allow the newspaper to advertise online, something that wasn’t possible on the campus network. The paper can now attract national advertisers who are seeking a print and online package.

But the new site is also giving Lehigh journalism students a chance to develop hands-on experience in both print and online.

The Brown and White gives you a good idea of the day-to-day stresses of the newspaper business,” Maghbouleh says. “But working online provides crucial experience for journalism students.”

“Students will have a good feel for how Web sites work and how online journalism is different than journalism,” Olson agrees. “This has really energized the online component of The Brown and White.”

--Tricia Long

Posted on Thursday, October 25, 2007

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