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WordPress News Site – based on PRiNZ BranfordMagazine 2.51

A NEWS SITE USING PRiNZ  BranfordMagazine 2.51

I  created a news site for level journalism students using WordPress and  PRiNZ BranfordMagazine 2.51 template. From a user-perspective it looks pretty good, although it's less flexible than Joomla! at the back-end.

There are many other news-stye templates that you can tailor to meet your needs. (See Revolution 2 Theme and Bram.us has a good list of others). 

SUPPORT FOR THOSE USING THE TEMPLATE

1. The creator of the template runs a support forum (this does not take any new support requests, but the database is searchable).

2. Download the excellent e-book – Sites that Soar – great if you don't know much about WordPress and it uses BrandfordMagazine as its example.


KEY STAGES FOR CREATING A SITE USING BRANFORD

The stages I went through to get the site right are roughly:

1. Change the website header (Logo),
 You need to find the name of the existing header graphic in the template files (it is known as bg-branding.png) and it's exactly 625 pixels w x 100 pixels h.Then go into Photoshop and create your own version. Finally, upload your logo to the same folder that has bg-branding.png.

2. Navigation bars
There
is a primary navigation bar that appears horizontally beneath the
website header. To add sections to this you simply create a page (NOT A POST). This will  automatically be added to the navigation bar.

The secondary navigation runs vertically on the left of the page. It orders posts according to categories   It is not standard to have a nav bar on the left for a news site, so this is not great.

You need to understand that categories in WordPress have IDs.
To get categories to appear in the left navigation bar, you need to
type these numbers into the template code.  Annoyingly WordPress 2.5
hides IDs. That said, it's possible to get them to appear again, but
you will need to download a plugin which is appropriately called Reveal IDs for WP Admin

5. Joomla! has module positions. And Brandford based on WordPress has its own  positions
Now
is the time to write  some posts (i.e. create some news articles). You
will then categorise these and these categories will appear in various
positions on the front page.

The positions on the front page are:

  • Lead Article (this is what appears beneath the tabbed section).
  • Featured articles
  • Right Column Articles

As with the left nav bar, you have to type in the ID numbers of the categories containing content that you want to appear in each position.

ADDING IMAGES TO THE FRONT PAGE

It's
easy to get an image to go with a post, but you will also want any
story that appears on the front page to have an image as well. Unlike in Joomla!, WordPress does simply not take
the image from the post and stick it on the front page.

Instead any images you want to appear on the front page must appear in the CustomFields section of the post.

This is a complicated process. There is no easy way to change the
order of what appears on the front page (to get a headline story, you
would need to change the date on the post to make it the newest). This gets frustrating with large sites.

Joomla! has front page manager which exists so you can order front page content.


CONCLUSION: 

WordPress is great for blogs and seems
to be getting better all the time. But you may well outgrow WordPress
quite quickly if you use it for a news site. Joomla! or Drupal could be
a better bet!

2 Responses to WordPress News Site – based on PRiNZ BranfordMagazine 2.51

  1. Francis Clarke July 22, 2009 at 1:12 am #

    I work with clients who use WordPress on a daily basis as well as using it for my own blog and for just about any time I need a dynamic CMSon a site so I’m a little biased, but when it comes to accessibility you really can’t go wrong with WP. It pushes all the right buttons in terms of usability but with addons you can make it as powerful as you like.
    A lot of the problems you point out can be fixed with CSS edits and custom fields, which are very powerful and require the minimum of user intervention. I don’t know much about the coding side, but custom fields let you very quickly specify headline stories and features without the need to touch any code at all.
    I’d go as far as to say teaching the creation of a wordpress page and the basic header changing / post editing work would be an easier to teach and more useful subject at L1 than going near Dreamweaver.

  2. Pow365 July 22, 2009 at 7:21 pm #

    Ta for the comment.
    I just find it easier to manage large sites in Joomla!, but they both have pros and cons. WP is great and whenever you have a problem, you can always bang it into Google and someone seems to have developed a pluggin to solve it.
    RE: teaching at L1. Students on BA Journalism get CMS – WP and Joomla! – at L2 and L3. We do have advanced Dreamweaver as part of an Option at L3, but mainly for creating templates. The 20 or so students that take it do enjoy it, but it’s an option and appreciate it is not everyone’s cup of tea!
    Kent University uses Drupal on its undergrad Journalism degree and I know the course leader is quite vocal in his support of the CMS, but I have yet to play with it.
    PS: I enjoyed reading your results!