The Daily Free Press launched its new website on Monday after about a year and a half of planning, members of The Free Press Board of Trustees said.
Former Board president Evelyn Ratigan, who served as head of the Board from 2009-10, said The Free Press has always wanted to improve its website.
However, she said, it wasn’t until Fall of 2009 that the Board began seriously discussing moving away from College Publisher, a newspaper network that provided a content management system for college media sites.
“At the time we thought it would improve our coverage, make it more reader-friendly,” she said.
However, with CP, board members said they had less control over both advertising and design.
“We wanted to take more control of our website,” said Andy Facini, a member of the Board who pioneered the re-design of the site. “College Publisher had the top ad and two other prominent ads and they got all the revenue from. We didn’t pay for the website before, they [College Publisher] just got their ads. This wasn’t good for us because to have a modern, effective website, we need to take control of the ad space.”
Rusty Lewis, CP director of newspaper relations, said in an email that the company’s business model has changed since the original Free Press decision about six months ago “such that The DFP could have more control over the ad inventory with us.”
“We welcome The DFP to re-engage our services on the business side if the revenue projections for the next couple semesters do not go as planned,” he said in an email. “That said, we have 10 years experience in supporting student media so we are not deaf to the desires to control more of the digital aspect of the publication, but we are focused on creating a sustainable solution that will weather the high staff turnover from semester to semester.”
Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore and the Board then began meeting to discuss The Free Press’ online future.
“We had conversations with The Daily Free Press about any assistance we could provide to students,” Elmore said.
After a series of meetings, The DFP and Boston University agreed on a plan where the university would help build the site in exchange for ad space, Elmore and board members said.
“The Daily Free Press [remained] in control of how the site looked,” Elmore said. “All we did was give technical expertise behind the scenes.”
With the help of BU’s New Media, the site redesign became a reality.
“We have more flexibility,” Facini said. “[The new site] was designed with that in mind. A big part of staying alive, staying afloat in this industry, is to have a quality web presence.”
“I commend The Daily Free Press’ new site,” Elmore said. “It has a modern look, more of a current design.”