Student-made news site encourages interactivity



Michael Jermann, a student-produced website that launched April 26, has yet to gain the following it hopes to eventually have.

Since its launch, the site has received, on average, more than 35 hits a day.

Jacqueline Marino, assistant professor of magazine journalism, said the low number of hits is due in part to the site’s nonexistent marketing.

“It’s not really established yet,” Marino said. “It got a lot of publicity on the university level on sites like It seems like a lot of people are proud of it besides us, but we haven’t done a big marketing thing yet.”

Students run the site, but Marino said she hopes Student Media will adopt the site to enhance the interactivity of KentWired.

“They’re going to wait until just before the fall staff comes on to decide whether or not they want to take editorial control over it,” Marino said.

Marino said the site is very different from the usual products journalists use. It’s technologically complex, and there no current Daily Kent Stater staff members have enough experience to take over programming tasks.

Marino said the site continues to add news from organizations that regularly cover Kent, including the Record-Courier, Patch and KentWired. She said she hopes the site becomes a one-stop shop for students where they can search for information on news, events and local sales.

However, it needs to be portable and scalable to ensure it is compatible with smart phones and other mobile devices.

“I think we’re going to keep focusing on the usability of the site,” OpenCampusKent technical consultant Joshua Talbott said, “so that you can get to more relevant content easier.”

The site will rely on user-generated content to gather information from the greater Kent community.

Marino said she hopes the site’s “Your News” section will become its main feature.

“Our hope is that more people will just tweet stuff with our hash tags,” Marino said. “That’s where we hope people will just post whatever messages – not messages about specific things like events or crime, but if you’re in a Greek organization and you just had a fundraiser.”

Marino said the class worked with Mark Goodman, journalism law professor, to write the policies that would govern the site and its content.

The site reserves the right to remove any content on the site deemed inappropriate.

“Right now, we block obscene content from YouTube,” Marino said. “That’s not something we want to become known for. We want to become known as a news source.”

Marino said because the site is local, the potential for advertising is very strong. She plans to bring in a sales manager from the University of Kansas, which operates a similar site, to teach sales people how to sell ad space on the website.

“We’re tech and editorial,” Marino said. “We haven’t even thought how to sell ads on this thing, but really, that’s for them to figure out.”

Contact Michael Jermann at [email protected].