Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Videos for the Spartan Daily

Innovation in College Media had a post recently that got me thinking more about the Spartan Daily Web site for next semester. ICM's post had links to some really good examples of college newspaper sites, so I have been browsing them for ideas. I also finally looked at the results of the poll currently posted on our site about what multimedia features we should work on:

Obviously the results are not very scientific, but it does show what at lest some people want. The big winner is of course "all of the above," which I expected, but I am surprised that videos got 21 percent of the vote so far. I was thinking that video was not a big priority for us at first. My thinking was that it would be better to focus on podcasts, slide shows and the like as we focus on getting the newsroom focused on online content. I guess I was wrong, if our users want video, we should give them video.

I really like the Washington Post video feature "onBeing." I also noticed Flagler College Gargoyle had a video series called "Walk and Talk with Jake." I would like to do something like these for the Daily. A video insight into students, faculty and staff at SJSU. What do you think?

Monday, June 18, 2007

SJSU Web site gets an upgrade

I got an e-mail today from San Jose State University that says that the school Web page is going to be getting a new look. Here is the notice:

On June 20, 2007, the SJSU homepage (, Search ( and top-level pages (News, Events, Future Students & Families, Students, Academic Programs, Faculty & Staff, and Alumni & Community) will be upgraded to an improved, accessible design.

SJSU is making the changes in response to the California State University directive to make all CSU Web sites comply with Section 508 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act. Approved by the SJSU Web Oversight Committee on May 30, 2007, the new format balances accessibility and usability needs while maintaining the look and feel of SJSU's existing Web site.

Achieving accessibility will allow SJSU to better serve all campus and community members. Thank you for your support and cooperation.

What to look for:

* Web pages are centered
* Keyboard-friendly navigation
* Banner with text links and improved contrast
* Bigger font size
* Printer-friendly pages

Read Presidential Directive 2007-02, Access to Electronic and Information Technology Policy for Persons with Disabilities at

For more information, contact the Web Services Unit at or visit
Hopefully the new site will be better. The current site is actually not too bad, and MySJSU has made major improvements in the last year, but it still has a way to go.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Olympians coming to SJSU

I have been busy working on HomeTown, spreading the word and posting content. Yesterday I posted two slide shows. One of a San Jose Giants game and the other of a press conference at SJSU announcing that the university will be the check-in location for all U.S. athletes going to the 2008 Olympic Games. The Olympic announcement is a big deal for the school. I am glad that all of these athletes will see what a wonderful city and university we have. I think San Jose needs to pick it up a notch and submit its own bid to host the Olympics in the future. We keep supporting San Francisco's failed bids. San Jose can do it better.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Welcome to HomeTown!

As I mentioned before, I am doing an internship this summer for NBC11. I am working on a new Web site there, called HomeTown. It is a pretty neat site. It is still very new and has some bugs to work out, but we are working on building up the content and will be working on marketing it soon. Jeremiah Owyang wrote up a nice review of the site (but it is NBC, not CBS). We are trying to keep it simple and clean and easy to use but still be useful.

The idea is to build a site that connects people with their neighbors and community groups. It is as local as you can get. Here is a place for the little stories that have traditionally gotten looked over by TV stations that have a limited amount of time on air. People are welcome to post about the things that matter to them, potholes on their streets, graffiti on the fence, yard sales, parades, what ever they want. Reporters from the station will watch the site for story ideas and to add their own reports. People can also post reviews of businesses and restaurants. The slide shows are also a nice feature. Anyone can upload his or her photos and videos to the site.

I am really excited about HomeTown. Hopefully other people will be too. Like I said, there are still bugs to work out, and new features will come out gradually over the coming months, but people can start adding their content and creating new neighborhoods now!

What do you think? How can we make the site better? Is it worth visiting and monitoring and posting or is it a waste of time? Please leave your comments here.

Friday, June 01, 2007