Responsive Web Design.. Join or be left behind!

Responsive web design is a web development method that creates the best possible viewing experience no matter what device is being used either desktop, laptop, smart phone or tablet.

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Click on the Picture to get a more in-depth look at Responsive Design.

Creators of these websites use fluid grids to design the website to automatically adapt to image size and the device’s resolution.

International Data Corporation (IDC) who conducts market research, analysis and advisory firm specializing in information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology.

In a recent report, the IDC said more people will access Internet via a mobile device than a desktop computer. College journalists should recognize that this trend will force web pages to require to be easily viewed on multiple devices.

Here are a few blogs that use responsive web design that provide a quick glimpse into the future of web and mobile sits.


They help other organizations improve their website by providing a series of services. They offer responsive web design to their customers.

Writing Zone:

They provide services that yield user guides, manuals and other corporate files. They have incredibly simple navigation that allows the user to access on any device.

If you are planning on developing a new responsive website, try and test it out on different devices by using this online tool:

Am I Responsive? –


Volunteer firefighters face trouble

Here is a bitchin’ new blog about headline writing

Did my headline make you read the next line in my blog?


That was the point.


As an editor of a college newspaper, I find myself writing headlines riding the struggle bus with the seatbelt on.  The hardest part for me is to try and describe a 500 word article in 5 words.  You have to take a step back, remove your editor hat and look at the article as a reader of the publication.  This is where I think the proverbial boys are separated from the men in the journalism world.  The biggest weapon to have as an editor is to have the biggest vocabulary you can possibly have.  Sometimes the biggest headline headaches I have had have been solved by a fellow editor, thinking of a different word.

A specific problem that I have experienced the most with headline writing in print vs online is SPACE.

On my Indesign layout for example, I have exactly 23 characters or 3.54 inches of space. On the Internet, there is almost unlimited space and there is a wider range for design in my experience.

Here is quick list of things to keep in mind when writing them:

1. Would you want to read this yourself?

2. Is it accurate?

3. Would a number or date make it easier to read?

4. Does it follow the noun verb rules?

5. Does the headline cut off pared phrases?

6. Can you say the same thing with less words?

7. Have fun!



Paywalls in the newspaper industry

The biggest question and fear for today’s journalist is how to make money from a website.  Some newspapers are testing a free distribution model for their hardcopies to generate web content traffic, and others are going the opposite direction, converting to 100% online.


Sooner or later, someone is going to figure this puzzle out.

Until that glorious day…..

It is not just professional publications like the Baltimore Sun, New York Times, the Dallas Morning News and Boston that have implemented paywalls, they are spreading to college newspapers.

In 2011, Press+ John S. James L. Knight Foundation launched a partnership that allowed the first 50 college newspapers that sign up with Press+ to install freepaywalls on their websites.  They allow newspapers to collect donations and subscription fees.

“The student journalists running college newspapers who hope to have a career in journalism are very aware that the traditional model is broken — advertising is simply not going to pay as much of the expense of newsrooms as it once did, especially for newspapers and magazines,” Press+ co-founder Gordon Crovitz said in a press release. “This generation needs to find new revenue streams, including new ways to collect revenues from the readers who get the most value from access.”

These newspapers have a paywall:

Oklahoma State University’s Daily O’Collegian

Syracuse University’s Daily Orange

Boston University’s Daily Free Press

Tufts’ Tufts Daily

UMass-Amherst’s Daily Collegian

Kansas State Collegian

University of Victoria’s Martlet

Oklahoma State University’s Daily O’Collegian was the first college newspaper to create a paywall.  Just like the professional organizations, the jury is still out on the success of paywalls for college newspapers.

College newspapers… 100 percent digital?

I have worked on a college newspaper since the day I walked on my campus, and now as I hold the position of editor of the section and I am looking  ahead for a job in the professional world. 

The biggest trend in the journalism world is providing conduct digitally to the consumer 

Traditionally, student newspapers serve two purposes: inform the campus population and train future journalists.  The biggest problem students face are the constant changing technology and consumer tastes.  

In a recent article about the aging newspaper readership, the author observed that:

The population of people reading newspapers has aged dramatically in the last three years to the point that nearly three-quarters of the audience is aged 45 or older.  Only 6% of the newspaper audience is 18-24, even though this age group constitutes 10% of the population.

Digital first: A new philosophy

This means the multimedia content is created on a multiple number of platforms.  Print, web and mobile.  All three make a successful digital.

That said, with “digital first,” print is not to be ditched completely – college newspapers serve a niche market and students still like reading the print copy.

Even though it seems to work now, this formula will most likely change dramatically as the consumer changes.  As journalists, we must figure out the solution to a changing problem.

Data Journalism in developing countries

In a blog by Jennifer Dooroh on the ijnet(international journalists network), she talked about how data based journalism is emerging across the world.

The African Media Initiative is leading the world with a series of data journalism bootcamps in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Moldova and Ghana.

Participates arrive not knowing how to use a simple spreadsheet and leave having scarped basic data off the Web, build a narrative map and their first visualization.  Ultimately, creating their first database.

As this type of journalistic training continues across the world, students in the U.S. must continue to strive to understand the importance of databases and spreadsheets.  Not only understand, but able to work with and pull information worthy to use in an article for publication.


Coding: Another language

In a recent blog by Sadiyyah Rice, an intern at the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force, talked about the benefits of being able to code.

Just as someone applying for a job with the ability to speak Spanish will be more likely to be hired, journalists who are able to speak the coding and HTML language become just as valuable.

I think this is one of the most overlooked skills a modern journalist should have.  I needs to be taught in the first journalism class to the last 400 level class before graduation. There can be no more fear in the Internet, there needs to be an embracement in very college newsroom in the country.

In Rice’s blog, she calls college graduates with the ability to code, the “missing links” in newsrooms in every level of journalism in the country.  In the 24/7 content driven world, it allows you to provide quick updates and provide your publication with abilities that will save time and allow for your readers a better product.

Although coding and HTML can seem like a daunting task, it can provide a young journalist a foot in the door that would ultimately lead to a long healthy writing career.


Google Drive changes corresponding colors

By Michael Riley


Google Drive is updating a few updates to its platform, more specifically colors and tools.

What is Google Drive? 

It is a file storage storage and synchronization service provided by Google, released in 2012.  It allows users to use cloud storage, file sharing and collaborative editing.

What did they update?

For the moderate user of Google Drive, the changes will not be obvious.  The subtle new touches across multiple pages to docs, sheets, slides, drawing, and forms and app scripts.

It added a product icon of the editor in the header, which doubles as shortcut link to files in the Drive.  The colors have been enhanced and from what I can tell, the hue has been altered to provide a cleaner look.  The header is more compact and aims to use different colors to focus on the content.

Corresponding colors have also been added to each page.  Google Docs will now have a touch of blue in the upper-left corner and Google Sheets are green and Google Slides have orange.



Publisher Redesign

Websites now serve a multitude of services for small and large businesses alike. According to , in the last six months several big-name publishers put out redesigns focussing on a mobile visual product.

Here are a few of the redesigns.

1. Slate This is the first update since 2006, the new design is done by Hard Candy Shell.  It is unique because they hidden navigation, which is typical for a mobile device, but they have implemented it across everything.



2. The New York Post In this renovation, the NYP focuses on providing lots of photos.  You want visual? Instead of jamming as much information as possible on a page this focused on organization and layout.



3. CNN The biggest challenge here was about how to limit the amount of news provided without overwhelming the reader.  They redid the headlines on headlines and added feature images.



The goal for most of the redesigns  was to create a better product for the viewer, and create similarities between the mobile site and online site.