The Mancunion is the UKs largest student-run newspaper and one of the only student papers with a full-time editor. It is editorially independent of both the Student’s Union and the University of Manchester. They boast a highly professional tabloid-style newspaper, publishing news and articles on a wide range of issues and subjects.
The previous network of sites were all separate, had no integration and were created on different platforms, hosted on different servers and managed by students who have since left the university. This also meant that there was no brand consistency across the network. One of our primary goals was to bring everything together and provide a single point of contact.
Easy to Use
Because the turnover of users each year is high (as new students join and others leave on a yearly basis) it was essential that the website was easy to update, as well as being easy to navigate from a visitor perspective.
Dynamic Inter-Site Features
Because of the nature of the news network, it was important that there were dynamic links between websites, such as breaking news and the radio player.
Because of the nature of the Mancunion Newspaper, some story’s required us to limit access from certain countries / areas.
Industry Standard CRM
A WordPress Multisite was developed to easily manage and separate the three independent parts of Manchester Media Group: The Media Group landing page, The Mancunion, Fuse FM and Fuse TV.
Site Specific User Experience, Front and Back
Because of the nature of the sites and their differences, not just in look and design, but of functionality and purpose, we specifically designed the user experienced based on the profile of each of it’s respective target audience. In order to provide this level of control, each website has a number of distinct custom post types so that content can be easily managed and automatically populates the front end of the website.
The Breaking News Banner spans all of the group websites, so that if an article is marked as Breaking News on the Mancunion Website, a banner will appear on all websites alerting every user across the network to the story.
In a similar vein, the Fuse FM Radio can be launched from all of the Manchester Media Group websites.
Protection from Controversial Articles
We developed a geographic check so that each article could be protected by restricting access from specific countries. Although not bulletproof, this ensured that traffic from sensitive countries was limited to reduce risk to the paper and it’s writers.
Working closely with the team at The University of Manchester, we helped raise the profile of the Mancunion Newspaper, Fuse FM Radio show and Fuse TV as well as the Manchester Media Group in general.
Whilst we have not embarked on any SEO campaigns with Manchester Media Group, our approach has helped increase the traffic to the website and the number of readers internationally.
The Mancunion, received multiple accolades at the 2023 Student Publication Association (SPA) National Awards, including the prestigious Best Website Award. The collaboration between The Mancunion and ourselves resulted in an engaging, user-friendly website that showcases exceptional journalism and cutting-edge web development. The partnership highlights the power of combining outstanding content with innovative design, setting a new standard for student publications across the UK and Ireland.
We host the Manchester Media Group and related websites on one of our super-fast VPS servers integrated into a number of additional hosting technologies to ensure that everything is protected, backed up, and fast.
We distribute all traffic over the Manchester Media Group Multi-Site through an industry standard Content Delivery Network and we also use this CDN to protect the source server from DDOS attacks and to hide the source IP. An SSL Certificate is installed on the server, protecting each of the domains and any potentially sensitive communication.
For complete redundancy we backup the website data daily within our London data-center, and take an additional off-site backup stored in a secure location in the EU.
Our WordPress Webmaster product keeps the website up-to-date by ensuring that WordPress, the website framework and the website plugins are regularly checked and updated to the latest versions. This protects the website from known vulnerabilities and conflicts between different services.
We have an ongoing maintenance contract with the University of Manchester to provide ongoing support to their team and continuous development of the network. We have a regularly updated roadmap and regular meetings to keep the Manchester Media Group network at the forefront of Student Journalist, Radio and TV.