Feb 11th, 2008 @ Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

5 reasons we chose WordPress MU to run our college newspaper

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I have to say I am eternally grateful for all of the kind words and support about our switch to WPMU.  I also found out a lot of things from just the feedback. For instance The Nevada Sagebrush beat us to the title of being the first College Newspaper to run on WPMU.

Nuts.

But all is not bad news. In the first two days of being live our page views were 400% higher the first day and 300% the second. This is without yet sending out a “weekly email edition” that used to be the source of almost all of our traffic. The email audience is largely alumni who could probably care less what the site looks like. The real test of the new site is see if we can get students to actively engage the content. Of course to do that, we must have frequent updates and build a community. Things that are all in the works.

But in the comment thread of my last post, Kelly Sutton asked why we choose MU. The reasons:

  1. Pure selfishness. I have used Drupal, Xoops, and WordPress as CMS’s before, and I have had the most positive experience with WordPress. This is not me saying one is “better” than another, just with my skill set WordPress came easiest.
  2. Many blogs, one roof. WPMU allows the owner to have an infinite number of blogs all under one domain. While at the moment The Temple News only has three online properties (the main site, our soon to be released alumni blog, and Broad and Cecil) I wanted who ever is coming after me to have as much flexibility as possible. Which brings me to…
  3. Turnover. The worst enemy of college newspapers (and college sports) is the high degree of turnover. On average staff members are employed for two years, so any broad changes need to be heavily documented and made so that someone with absolutely no knowledge could come in and run the site. Using Drupal or Xoops I always felt like the learning curve was very steep. However WordPress seems fairly direct, and although I am not quite finished in writing our site’s “handbook”, I feel like if I got hit by a SEPTA bus tomorrow the Temple News would be just fine.
  4. Flexibility.  As I was making the site, several staffers came up to me and asked if we could do X.  99% of the time, there was a plugin for what they were asking.   This allows our CMS to grow and evolve as the technologies and needs change.  It also doesn’t hurt that WPMU is open source.  My only fear is that WPMU is shut down to devote more time to WordPress.
  5. The support.  This goes for Drupal as well, but I feel like the WordPress community goes above and beyond the call of duty.  And if instant answers are needed, there are several paid services.

I hope that answered any questions!

PS.  In my last post I briefly mentioned that my car was broken into.  Well as I was figuring out what to do, The Philadelphia Parking Authority had no sympathy and ticketed it.  So if you ever watch the show “Parking Wars“, the hatred city residents have for this organization is true to life.

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