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Northwestern University

Online News Best Practices

Best practices for posting news online

As a standard practice, if your department and program produces a newsletter, your website should contain the content of the newsletter, both for the benefit of those who are not on your print subscriber list and that of the larger web audience in general, including prospective students/parents, friends of the university community, faculty at peer institutions, etc. If your department or program is not publishing a newsletter at this time, key news and event bulletins can be published directly to the site as frequently as time and availability of content allow.

Recommendations for departments/programs NOT producing a newsletter


Whenever a news item becomes available, highlight it prominently on the department/program site. (Feel free to contact for assistance in deciding optimal placement of news content on your site and/or a refresher tutorial on using Adobe Contribute to update it.)


Highlight news items as indicated in the ‘baseline’ step above, and also start populating a separate news page with news items as they are added to the home page. Most items of this sort have a considerable shelf life and may be of interest to infrequent site visitors as a record of past department/program activities.

Recommendations for departments/programs producing a newsletter


Upload a PDF version of the newsletter to your site and link to it from the site’s news page (if available) or home page.


Upload a PDF version of the newsletter to your site and feature a few items from it (in HTML format) on the site’s news page (if available) and home page; refresh the items every few weeks.


Create a multi-page, HTML version of the newsletter content in your site’s news area and feature items from it on your home page; refresh the featured items on the home page every few weeks.

E-mail newsletters

Departments and programs wishing to send an occasional newsletter will find the lowest cost and quickest preparation using an email marketing platform. Weinberg College’s marketing and communications team is piloting a platform it hopes to offer to departments/programs – free of charge and preloaded with branded templates – in winter quarter 2017. Watch for progress bulletins from the College web communications team. In the meantime, a free account with Benchmark, Mailchimp or Constant Contact can facilitate e-newsletter communication with alumni and other external audiences. Benchmark is recommended because that is the platform being piloted by several departments/programs.

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