Online newsroom makes college a community information hub

With newspapers and TV stations shrinking their staffs these days, how does
an organization get attention for its events and accomplishments?

And if there’s ever an emergency such as a hurricane or—God forbid—a gunman
on campus, how do you get the news out on all your digital channels
immediately?

These are some of the questions that led officials at Del Mar College in
Corpus Christi, Texas, to launch an online newsroom through PressPage. (The first higher
education institution to subscribe to PressPage in Texas.)

“News media has changed,” says Melinda Eddleman, associate director of
media relations. “Even with our local metropolitan paper, staffing has been
downsized considerably. … There’s not as much placement, even in terms of
educational reporting.”

Del Mar has 12,000 students, making it as large as a mid-size university.
That means it’s a hub of academic activity as well as a resource for a
community that is both a tourist attraction and center of industry on the
Gulf Coast, Eddleman says.

Del Mar hosts musical events featuring faculty, students or visiting
artists, as well as theatrical productions, art exhibits and other cultural
programs.

An information hub

The college has been featured in important news stories, and Del Mar
officials naturally wish to trumpet the news. PressPage is a cloud-based
newsroom that allows easy posting by communications professionals. The
software also enables users to post readily to social media, extending the
reach of Viking News, as Del Mar’s site is called.

“It’s a great hub to get things out,” Eddleman says.

Since the site went up late last year, it has received more than 8,800
visits. PressPage has provided in-depth statistics to the college compared
with what was previously available, such as new and repeat visitors.

Eddleman says, “I feel these numbers are very impressive, since our Viking
Newsroom has been live for less than six months.”

Tropical storms pose a significant threat along the Gulf of Mexico.
Hurricane Harvey hit about 15 miles north of the college. In such an
emergency, the college can change the number of stories rotating in the
carousel.

“If I need to, I can lower the number to one static slide,” Eddleman says,
“so that if we have a weather event where we need to get news to people, we
can. If we have an active shooter on campus, we’re prepared to use this as
a communication tool.”

Easy posting

Another advantage of the platform is that it makes it easy to upload
stories, photos and video, and to attach captions to visual assets. This
allows the college to make its content compliant with the Americans with
Disabilities Act; a blind person scanning the site with a special device
would know what photos are posted. Also, the college’s Del Mar TV provides
closed captioning, a capability that didn’t exist before it used PressPage,
Eddleman says.

The school produces a wide range of content. There’s a video on the sound
recording technology program’s
final recording for spring semester, as well as an article on
spring commencement.

Under the heading “Latest News,” it touts its industry partners and
highlights their support of the college, Eddleman says. Stories mention a
$100,000 donation
to the Safety Institute and a
$54,000 scholarship
award for 17 process technology majors, a department that also received a
$1 million gift.

The front page has an “In the Media” section
that enables the college to note stories about its programs or where its
staff are quoted.
Quick Takes
enables users to post notable matters they wouldn’t pitch to news outlets,
due to lack of local column space or airtime.

Eddleman’s team has four people, part of a college relations office of 15.
She believes PressPage would work just as well for small, rural colleges
where communicators often have dual roles.

“Yet if they can drive their community to their newsroom, this could very
definitely become an informational hub for the great news and opportunities
that individuals can access,” she says.

Even in Corpus Christi, the site has become a resource for the community at
large, as well as those interested in the college.

“You might have Mom and Dad researching, or a potential student researching
your institution,” Eddleman says, “and they come across the news and—‘Oh,
OK’—they see all the different things that we do.”


PressPage is an
online newsroom

software


provider specializing in the creation of advanced social newsrooms, virtual
press centers and online media hubs. It enables brands to publish and
distribute rich content, and provides direct insights into the results.
PressPage empowers PR professionals by adding efficiency and effectiveness
to their daily work routine.

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