On CoPress and Huffington Post College:
Ever since I somehow got myself involved in launching a website for the Middlebury Campus, I relied moderately on the resources (people, wikis and forums) and ingenuity of CoPress. Earlier this week, they announced they were shutting down. Sad. But I was a free rider on their train of open content and free online resources to those of us struggling to launch a news site. What started as a project to prove to myself that I could build a complex (non-personal) website turned into a crash course in how the help desk when the email goes down. But sad to see CoPress go on principle. Shouldn’t there be a group fighting to train journalists to not simply think of the web as a black hole? Who leads the way when a college newspaper has a decision between College Publisher and building their own site?
Also this week, Huffington Post launched their “College” vertical (read: stories from college newspapers syndicated). So far, I like it. At least someone other than spam blogs care enough about the content being created at universities across the country. Launching with a bunch of posts on student debt and following the UC riots closely, Huffington College can clean house in this niche quickly. UWire got the axe at the end of last year and let’s be honest, the PaperTrail blog serves only to promote U.S. News college rankings — they even write, “Searching for a college? Get our complete rankings of America’s Best Colleges.” at the end of every post. The Huffington trademark blend of syndication and blogging works for college media. And, hopefully, with their reporter training program, college reporters will actually learn something too.