Shape Poynter’s New Website, Coming in November

Poynter is known as a school that teaches journalism excellence; Poynter Online is known for Romenesko. To better serve people looking for our teaching or our media news, we are recreating our website.

As Poynter celebrates its 35th anniversary in November, we will be launching a new Media News site, along with select microsites under the umbrella to better communicate how the Institute serves journalism.

At the very top of the prototype we invite you to preview, you’ll see parent-level navigation that, once functional, will direct users to places where they can learn more about:

  • Poynter’s mission, history, faculty, facility and events
  • Poynter’s on-site and online training
  • Ways to donate and support our work

(You’ll see the same type of navigation in the prototype’s footer.) The microsites referenced in the parent-level navigation are still under development and will launch at the same time as the Media News site in a few months.

The new Media News microsite prototype has been structured to leverage Poynter’s unique strengths and to respond to consistent user feedback (less clutter, more focus, keep helping us solve problems). The new Media News site will make it easier to understand how journalism is changing, with the latest news and analysis from Romenesko, Al’s Morning Meeting, Mobile Media, our business writers; and easier to learn the skills you need to shape journalism’s future.

What we’re testing

On the prototype, we’re providing just a sampling of material that would appear in each section. We want you to assess whether the content belongs where you found it and whether it is what you expected. You’ll see some of your favorites, like Jill Geisler’s “What Great Bosses Know” series and Roy Peter Clark’s “Writing Tools.” You’ll see some placeholder copy as well.

Our primary objective with this pre-alpha wireframe site is to determine if users understand our content organization. Can you find the content you want? Does the flow make sense? Is there confusion because your favorite content isn’t where you intuit it should be?

What’s coming

  • We have plans for integration of social media, APIs and real-time conversation tracking. That will all be available when we launch in November.
  • The site will also have: job listings, search, sharing tools, RSS feeds, e-mail newsletters, and more.
  • Ads are placed on the prototype simply to show we will still have them; actual sizes and placements may vary.

This is a work in progress and we want your feedback before we develop it further. For now, treat the prototype site as a wireframe, a skeleton on which we’re hanging content so you can see it.

Resist the urge to offer your thoughts on colors or type or image size; we’re not ready for that feedback yet. We’ll start designing the site after we finalize the overall architecture and you’ll have a chance to weigh in then.

Open platform

You may have noticed that the prototype was built using WordPress, with a theme we purchased and will refine and design so that it matches the overall look and feel of the new We expect to publish on a more open, flexible, fast platform than we do currently, to simplify both our production and your use. We plan to eliminate registration, while retaining accountability for commenting, with a sign-in tied to your Facebook profile or a similar form of ID.

We are researching options for plugins and third-party tools and we may soon list the options we’re considering so we can crowdsource best practices.

Help us help you

The site’s goal is to serve anyone pursuing journalism excellence — newsroom journalists, journalists outside traditional newsrooms, and people interested in developing journalism skills, even if they are practicing in allied or unrelated fields.

We hope remains a place you come to learn, and a place you leave feeling smarter, increasingly optimistic and more capable of shaping journalism’s future.

After you’ve had a chance to use the prototype a bit, please fill out this short survey to tell us about your experience. Or, you can e-mail feedback to Julie Moos, director of Poynter Online.

We have made it easy to comment on posts, however we require civility and encourage full names to that end (first initial, last name is OK). Please read our guidelines here before commenting.