Experience gets a new web format


Jasmine Gordon

The Los Medanos College Experience has added a new service for readers: an electronic edition published regularly through School Newspapers Online (SNO).

Many local newspapers have also gone online — the Contra Costa Times and San Francisco Chronicle, for example — and the Experience is following the trend and can be found at www.lmcexperience.com.

“The news industry has been integrating new media technologies into the products they offer readers and viewers, and a presence on the internet is part of that trend,” said journalism instructor Cindy McGrath.|

An added benefit for students is that they now have the ability to access the paper when they are not on campus, or after they graduate.

This, however, is not the first time the Experience appeared online. “The student news staff published an online version of the newspaper for about a decade, but a few years back we encountered some technology challenges,” McGrath said, “The new web version of the Experience represents a solution to those challenges. While the online paper was once hosted locally, the website is now affiliated with SNO thanks to a generous mini-grant from the LMC Foundation.”

Experience Editor-in-Chief Peter Costanza has high hopes that more people will read the newspaper online.

“Since we’re in a virtual world, we may get students outside of the campus. Technically, people in Germany could look at it, people in Asia could look at it,” he said. “It’s on the web… it makes it more available to more people.”

In fact, a Google weekly analytics report vshows one reader accessed the Experience from India and another from the Philippines.

With all the technology upgrades in today’s society, the world continues to re-invent itself, and so do newspapers. The online newspaper can offer things the print version doesn’t have.

“A good online news site is more than just shoveling content from the print edition online,” McGrath said. “It makes use of the technology not available in the print edition — lots of color photos, audio and video clips, links to original documents, electronic reader polls and automatic access to the online archives.”

Sports Editor Chris Chard said the online newspaper makes sports news more current. “The website is an excellent source of up-to-date information,” he said. “It allows me to enter information the minute that things happen. Several of the games I go to take too long to get the information into the paper. With the website, I can get the stories needed almost instantly.”

The SNO site means new jobs and responsibilities for the staff. “The transition to online has gone smoothly, thanks to the great work of student Web Editor Jesus Chico, who has lots of creative plans for the online edition of the paper.”

Chico served as graphics editor last year and was familiar with Word Press, the online tool behind the SNO site.
As web editor, his responsibility is to make sure that all of the stories get posted before the newspaper hits print. He is confident in the online newspaper, and it could surpass social media. “I expect that we would have a much better web presence than just Facebook and Twitter,” he said. “It was time to get up to date.”