Using WordPress for news

Posted in: Archive

We've recently started a new project to overhaul the system powering the University's news pages.

The old system is powered by a desktop XML editing package called XMLmind, the new system will be powered by WordPress (mind that capital P!).

We've looked at other Universities and how they present news, looking particularly at how they use video and audio (if at all).

Surprisingly, there's very little consensus on what goes to making up the content of a news article; some have no images, some are only press releases, some have contact details and notes for journalists, others nothing but the bare text of an article.

It also seemed that there was no consensus on what software to use to power these systems - most appeared to be using homegrown solutions or the news feature provided by their CMS. Since we need to turn something around quickly, we decided to go for the third-party solution, and after comparing our desired features to the features available in the most popular open-source CMS and news management systems we went with WordPress.

WordPress has an awesome feature set, a massive plugin ecosystem, and comes at an excellent purchase price (£0). There's also masses of documentation on how to write your own plugins and themes, as well as the newly-launched WordPress.tv which contains a section containing nothing but screencasts of how to perform certain tasks.

We're currently running some user testing with WordPress straight out-of-the-box which will no doubt lead to some recommendations for changes, but we're looking forward to working with such a popular, well-documented and feature-heavy tool.

Posted in: Archive