After months of preparation and a collaboration of ideas, The Outlooklaunched their new website and mobile site this morning, April 4, to upgrade the online presence of the publication.
The new and interactive website, located at the same web address (outlook.monmouth.edu) features a multimedia design which compliments the stories appearing in the print edition in an online format. All stories can now be shared on social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter.
The website has been constructed by Sarah Oseroff, a junior business management major, and Josh Silva, a junior business management/marketing major. Web design began in February 2012.
“It is really neat seeing all of our ideas come to life on the Internet. It’s nice to be behind the scenes at The Outlook,” Oseroff said.
Any smartphone and/or tablet can view The Outlook’s mobile site by typing in the web address in the browser. The mobile site can also be accessed via the Monmouth University app by scrolling to ‘links’ and then selecting ‘The Outlook’ from the drop down menu. Appearing in a quick-access format, stories can be instantly located by tapping on a specific section – whether it be news, lifestyles, sports, entertainment, etc.
John Morano, professor of journalism who has advised the paper for over 20 years, said, “This is a new era for The Outlook.It’s exciting, it’s timely, and it’s ahead of the curve of where not only many college newspapers are but quite frankly, many professional ones as well. Josh and Sarah have done an incredible job bringing the paper into this new frontier.”
The new format came about after the e-board decided to expand its publication online, allowing mobile access and convenience for readers. “The goal was to make it more user friendly and more attractive so that we were up to date with other schools and to incorporate our social media. I was looking to include video and more multimedia aspects to make it more interactive,” Oseroff said.
The previous website contained four highlighted stories from the print edition on the home page, an archived page of PDF versions of the most recent print editions through 2005, links to The Outlook’ssocial media accounts, and informational pages regarding advertising rates and contact information.
New features include a ‘submit news’ tab where readers can alert the staff of recent events, and a ‘meet the editors’ section complete with staff pictures, personal bios, and contact information so interested writers know who to contact and recognize a familiar face.
“People don’t know how many hours we put into this, especially with designing the layout. It was definitely a challenge only having two people work on a site, but it felt very rewarding once it was complete,” Silva said.
Issues published within the past year can be viewed via the new Flipbook feature, which is a more interactive way of viewing the paper rather than through PDF format – the viewer is actually able to “flip” through the paper, zoom in on articles and pictures, and search for a specific article, writer, or topic.
Dr. Chad Dell, Chair of the Department of Communication, said that the new site is fabulous and terrific. “It’s a bold new step for The Outlook. This enables Outlook reporters and editors to compete in a robust media environment here at Monmouth University, and I’m delighted to see The Outlooktake this momentous step forward.”
Since more people are receiving news via technology devices and/or social media in the world today, The Outlookhas also been marketing itself on various social media platforms. The publication can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and most recently Pinterest.
The Outlook Facebook updates and Twitter feeds are displayed on the right side bar of the website. Users can leave comments about stories through their Facebook and Twitter accounts at the bottom of each story. Continued features include an event coverage request form, a ‘join the staff’ interest form, advertising rates, and general contact information.
Additional plans to promote the new website include a kiosk that will be installed in the lobby of the Jules L. Plangere Center within the next week. The computer will be locked onto The Outlook’s website so all members of the University passing through the building can utilize and explore the site.
In order to stay true as a print medium first, all stories will first run in the weekly print editions every Wednesday. Moments after hitting the stands, the stories will appear online.
Eventually, The Outlook would also like to offer online advertising options as well as develop its own app that can be installed from Apple’s App Store.