WP hosting school newspapers? Possible? Pros/Cons?

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    Good morning —
    I am the advisor for two student newspapers — one at a public elementary school and a (new) one at the public middle school.
    We have posted the elementary school paper, the Cunniff Kids News, (http://teacherweb.com/MA/WatertownCunniffElementary/Newspaper/newsflash.stm) on a modified TeacherWeb site for the past two years. But it has limitations, from a production standpoint.

    As I was investigating other options, I discovered that two fabulous scholastic newspapers, The Daytime in Newton, Mass. (http://www.thedaytime.org/online/?p=69) and the Garfield Messenger (http://www.garfieldmessenger.com/) in Seattle are WordPress productions. (Garfield is even a FEATURED site on WP.org!)

    But I have questions:
    * Being that we are nonprofit public school organizations, can we set-up shop on WP.com *IF* we are planning on selling ads?
    * Does it matter if we set up shop at WP.com or WP.org? (Is there a difference?)
    * In terms of usage and access, is the WP environment conducive toward this project? Or would the kids be limited in how they could access, update, design, and change the newspapers by their location or what machines they worked on?
    * How much expertise do the advisors and teachers need to set up the newspaper pages? Or is it so easy that the students could get going soon after logging on?

    Thanks very much for your help and advice
    John V.
    Watertown, Mass.



    You did not specify a blog address or reason for posting when you created this topic.

    This support forum is for WordPress.com hosted blogs only. If you have a self-hosted WordPress blog you need to seek help at the WordPress.org forums, not here.

    If you don’t understand the difference, you may find this information helpful.



    1) No, but you can have a Wp.ORG blog instead with no ad restrictions
    2) Yes, see the second link sam gave you above
    3) WP.org is. If ads are a requirement, the Terms of Service bar you from hosting at WordPress.COM.



    Oh, and how easy is it to use? Extremely easy. The kids will catch on much faster than the teachers. I teach blogging to individuals and organizations and I see this every time I teach in a school.


    Thanks muchly for the help.

    I am trying to figure which route is best for these type of projects. From looking around at the different WP-produced sites, I LOVE the possibilities that WP seemingly provides.

    I just have nothing to go by — which is why I ask for the guidance.

    I would love to have the kids/students be able to post their stories, design their layouts, add pictures, write headlines, all from the classtoom computers — or their homes even.

    I would love for them to be able to go back into stories and fix mistakes, and make additions/corrections/edits as needed.

    Thanks again for your help and guidance



    The bottom line is this: with WP.com, all the technical stuff is handled for you and you have a huge advantage in terms of search engine visibility. With an independent blog, using software from WP.org, if something goes wrong technically, it’s YOUR problem. You must either fix it or hire staff to maintain and upgrade it.

    Designing layouts is not really an option here. It IS at Wp.org. WP.com is for content-based blogging, not theme designing and suchlike. In a limited way it’s possible, but our system here is optimized for ease of blogging, not ease of learning website building.

    Correcting and updating things is dead easy on both platforms. Posting is dead easy. Adding pictures, headlines, content; all are easy and work essentially the same on both platforms.

    So, if designing layouts and hosting paid ads are musts for you, then WP.org is where you want to be, and you’ll need to buy hosting. If they’re not, you’ll find this is easier to use overall.


    For students, you might also consider wordpress multi-user, which would allow each student to have their own blog, much like here, under the umbrella of one wordpress installation.



    There’s the “Devil you know is better ..” response i was hoping for.

    Still, whichever way we choose, if we go with WP, it will be better looking, better engineered — just plain better than what i’m positng now.

    Any other advice, please feel free, for i’d love to hear others who are doing similar projects.

    thanks again
    all my best



    You might even look at Buddypress, which is sort of a cross between Facebook and WordPress. Gives the kids a reason to play around and get familiar with the technology in their spare time.



    /nod to Raincoaster, that is also a good option.



    Wait, wait, aren’t ads “for profit?” Do you mean to say that any registered not-for-profit group can host paid ads as a fundraising thing? Because I know several who’d switch if that were the case.


    In looking at other scholastic journalism productions around the web, I can tell the WP-generated ones by the logo at the bottom of the page.

    BUT …

    Is there a way to tell if they were generated using WP.com, WP.org, WP-MU just by looking at them?
    Are the URLs a giveaway?




    Well, the ones hosted by WP.com generally have that in the footer. And they usually, though not always, have a URL that looks like Whatever.wordpress.com instead of just whatever.com.

    If you are signed in to your WP.com account while looking at the blogs, at the very top of each WP.com blog, you will see the grey Admin bar with My Account, My Dashboards, New Post, etc in it. You will not see that on other blogs.



    Ugh, sorry, I deleted my post above because I completely misread your original statement (as “not selling ads”).

    We’d certainly be happy to talk to non-profits about fundraising but we have no plans or features in place for that at present.

    http://ismyblogworking.com/ will tell you if a blog is hosted at WP.com. It can sometimes distinguish between WP.org and WPMU.


    You can put the URL of the site into http://ismyblogworking.com/ and it will tell you if it is .COM or .ORG.


    Partial stereo.




    /Glad to know it wasn’t just me that read @tellyworth‘s deleted comment with a mild sense of wtf. ;-) I nearly ran out to register as an NPO!

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