Wednesday, September 9, 2009

St. Thomas U enters the post-newspaper future

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In April, I passed along the news that St. Thomas was killing off its venerable campus paper, the Aquin, and going all-in on the digital future with a new site, TommieMedia.com. It went live yesterday, and it's good-looking.

Of course, the "convergence site" is a multimedia deal, combining former print and TV staffs while blending in radio and p.r. for a single 40-person operation. J-prof Mark Neuzil (disclaimer: MinnPost contributor) believes St. Thomas is the first Minnesota school to completely ditch print, possibly the first in the country, and certainly the first college AP member to go all-online.

The site promises daily news content, and a quick spin around the site shows some nice video-text collaborations. The layout is remarkably clean and the RSS feeds are prominent. There are also Twitter and Facebook come-ons, though they weren't hotlinked. I'm surprised video isn't embeddable, and there aren't distinct links in the address bar.

While I remain a huge print fan, it's hard to argue with a future-oriented university attempting this. Like many publishers, Tommiemedia honchos promise more through synergy. It'll be fun to see if that petri dish produces results, and readers. By David Brauer | MinnPost

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