Monday, May 29, 2006
After problems with their last hosting service led to the school newspaper's former website became inoperable, the Courier switched its address to its current location, www.jameslogancourier.com, and adopted a new daily format.
"Our former host went offline in the second week in May," said advisor Patrick Hannigan, "The new site debuted on March 21. We took advantage of the bad situation and redesigned and redefined what the Courier offers. It's proved to be very popular."
The Courier has received about 110,000 "hits" since mid-March, according to statistics gathered at the site.
The Courier debuted on paper in the late 1950s and continued on paper relatively irregularly until 2002, when it switched to online operations via the web, to cut costs.
"It's very expensive to print a school newspaper," Hannigan said. "To print 10,000 copies of the newspaper would cost several thousand dollars. Providing the Courier via the internet to the 10,000 readers has cost about $20. We've already made several times that amount back in advertising sales."
Ohlone College and Chabot College have bought about $125 in advertising, he said. The newspaper's staff, headed by senior Editor-in-Chief Amandeep Samra, is working on advertising sales materials for a drive to sell more ads and raise money to pay off the paper's approximately $1,700 debt to the Associated Student Body, incurred to cover the cost of printing the paper before Hannigan took over the advising duties for the second time.
Going online has proven to have advantages beyond just cost, Hannigan said. "One of the great things is that everything we do is always there for the reader to see in our archives. Plus, we can provide the reader with such features as our Daily Crossword Puzzle, links to such things as daily SAT practice questions, historical news, the Daily Astronomy picture and whatever else of value we can find.
"And, using some browsers, the reader can get the definition to any word he doesn't know in the blog section, just by clicking on the unknown word. Paper newspapers sure can't do that," he said.
The Courier is hosted by Visionhead Hosting and uses Nucleus CMS software, which is free, open-source software, to make and manage the appearance and content of the site.
Another advantage of the Courier being online is the wider audience it allows. Since restarting last March, readers from Brazil, Australia, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the Dominican Republic, Israel, Ireland, Belgium, Romania, the Seychelles, Croatia, Finland, France, Thailand, and the latest addition to the list, Saudi Arabia, have visited the Courier.
To promote the Courier to a wider audience, some Courier stories have been submitted to www.wikinews.org, an international free-content, user-edited news website that's part of the Wikimedia Foundation, which operates www.wikipedia.org, one of the world's most popular internet destinations. Through wikinews, several Courier stories have been picked up and featured at other websites.
Webalizer, one of the software programs used to analyze the Courier's usage statistics, reports that the Courier gets an average of 67 hits per hour, or 2629 per day during the month of May.
"That's good," said Hannigan, "but it's the tip of the iceberg. Statistics show that we're only reaching a small percentage of Logan students, and we want to reach them all. When we do that, we should be getting 10,000 visitors a week, or even more. Our goal is to be so great and important that everyone at Logan — students, staff, parents — comes to the site every day to learn something new about the school and the world."
The Courier could use some help reaching that goal, he said. "We need reporters, photographers, artists, cartoonists and more. If anyone wants to help out, write us or just drop by our office in Room 509."
To celebrate the statistical milestones, The Courier is giving away various promotional items it receives, such as Rihanna posters, stickers, post cards, and more, to students and others who drop by the office during either lunch period.