The Patriot launches new website

Staci Poston, Managing Editor

FMU’s award-winning student newspaper, The Patriot, recently launched its new website.  Managing Editor Staci Poston worked on the new website design over the summer.

The new site has the same URL but is now hosted by School Newspapers Online.

Adviser to The Patriot and Associate Professor of Mass Communication Dave Sacash said that he decided to switch the host in order to improve the overall quality of the website and focus on the  quality of photos.

“We’re doing this for several reasons,” Sacash said.  “We’re saving money by going with a new vendor, but we’re also emphasizing photography.”

Sacash said that he wants photos, both in the print publication and on the web, to be highlighted and really add to the stories that they accompany.

Editor-in-Chief Brittany Parker, a senior who is double-majoring in mass communication and English, said that she was very pleased with the development of the new website and is ready to hear what others think about it as well.

“I’m looking forward to getting feedback from students and professors about our new website,” Parker said.  “My main goal is to reach a larger audience with an easily-navigated website that is more visually appealing.”

Sacash said that he hopes students find the new website more user-friendly in navigation and readability.  He said that it should also be easier to find, as it is now listed under “Quick Links” on the FMU home page.

“The new look and feel should help increase web traffic at FMU, the community and around the world,” Sacash said. “Our research shows that web use increases when students at FMU are in the news.  For example, when FMU senior Bree Boyce was named Miss South Carolina in July, traffic on the Patriot website spiked to over 5,000 views.”

The Patriot will also be committing more resources to the new website by hiring a website manager who will be in charge of regular updates during the school year.

Over the summer, Poston moved archives from the past year onto the new site, but this fall, senior professional writing major Alyssa Carver will serve as website manager.

Parker said that she was excited to have someone focusing solely on the production and development of the website.

“I’m eager to work with The Patriot’s new website manager, Alyssa Carver,” Parker said.  “We all have a number of ideas, so we are going to be bringing those different ideas together this semester.”

Parker also said that she views the new website as a great addition to The Patriot.

“Poston and I are both scheduled to graduate in May 2012, so we’re working toward building the newspaper up to the best it has ever been,” Parker said.  “We want to leave the next editors in a good position to keep improving The Patriot.  This newspaper has become our baby, and we’ve devoted countless nights and weekends to ensuring that we produce a quality product.  We’re both excited to see that product improve and expand with this website.”

The new website is aimed towards not only saving The Patriot money, but is also providing readers with a highly improved medium of news. Those interested can register on the new website, which will allow them to post comments on articles and receive email updates.

The Patriot’s Layout Editor Darby Sauls has also worked over the summer to update the layout of the print publication for the new academic year.