Catholic SUN launches new Web site
by Luke Eggleston
SUN staff writer
Every day, the media industry becomes more and more dependent on the internet to disseminate news to the world.
Recently, The Catholic SUN newspaper, which serves the Syracuse Diocese, launched its own independent Web site, www.thecatholicsun.com. Previously, those interested in finding SUN articles online needed to visit the weekly newspaper’s articles archived on the diocese’s Web site, www.syrdio.org.
The online edition will include staff-generated content and “Happenings” notes, as well as Bishop Robert Cunningham’s column. Other columns and letters to the editor will remain exclusively available in the print edition.
The new site will also provide a more interactive experience for The Catholic SUN’s readers throughout the diocese. With the permission of The Catholic SUN staff, diocesan administrators will be able to generate an account that will allow them to post materials. The SUN hopes diocesan school officials and parishes will take advantage of this feature.
Like many newspapers, The Catholic SUN has reduced its page count over the years due to rising costs of printing and postage. Editor-in-Chief/General Manager Connie Berry believes an expanded presence on the web will enable The Catholic SUN to reach more readers quickly and provide a broader range of material at little cost. In terms of content, the most notable element that will be expanded is the publication’s ability to include calendar and community events. In addition, the online edition will include some photographs and editorial content that previously could not be included in the newspaper.
In addition, www.thecatholicsun.com will provide readers with access to national and international news impacting Catholics.
“We hope that with our Web site, The SUN will reach even more readers. Since our print version has decreased in size, there is much information that we have not been able to include,” Berry said. “With www.thecatholicsun.com we can add special events, photos and other relevant material that has not made its way into the print edition. For example, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles and others who live miles from our diocese can now have access to news about their family members and about our diocese with links to the Catholic News Service, national and international news concerning the church. That is the real benefit of the Web site — to reach and to engage more people, to expand and include all of the diocesan family and the universal church.”
In addition, the site will enable The Catholic SUN staff to provide news close to real time whenever it is required.
The site was created by SUN graphic designer Willie Putmon Jr. using the platform Joomla!
“It’s just a platform that I’m comfortable and familiar with,” said Putmon, whose primary experience in developing Web sites is through freelance projects. “It allows lots of third party applications and it’s very versatile.”
Putmon tailored the site to address the specific needs of the newspaper. Although he did not base the design on other sites, Putmon consulted with the staff of the Catholic Courier, the newspaper of the Rochester Diocese.
“We mostly just talked about advertising rates and what’s fair to advertisers,” Putmon said. “We also talked about how they handled their Web site.”
In addition to its homepage, the site includes pages geared toward parishes and schools broken down according to the regions of the Syracuse Diocese. Another section, entitled “Happenings,” will accommodate event listings much like its counterpart in the newspaper.
The site currently supports multimedia content, but Putmon said the Joomla! platform will be able to support podcasts and audio should the need arise in the future. Putmon also explained that while the site is close to its final form, some of its aspects were still in the testing phase at publication time.
The site’s archives currently date back to The Catholic SUN’s March 26, 2009 edition. Putmon said that all stories will be archived going forward.
Readers may still access older archived materials by visiting www.syrdio.org and clicking on The Catholic SUN button on the left side of the web page.
In addition to editorial content, the site will provide the newspaper’s advertisers with another avenue for promoting their event or product.
For more information, visit
www.thecatholicsun.com or call