University of St. Thomas Newsroom
Dynamic and compassionate storytelling

  • Lead
  • Developer
  • React
  • Gutenberg
  • Responsive Design
  • Stylelint
  • SVG
  • ESLint
  • Git
  • ES6
  • Webpack
  • WordPress

The University of St. Thomas is in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is a private Catholic univesrity that was founded in 1885. The university is known for its strong sense of community and its commitment to social justice. They wanted to bring together their newsroom and magazine publications to create a place where students, faculty, and staff can read all their stories and experiences in a single location.

University of St. Thomas Newsroom responsive design.

Some of the main goals for this project were to create a site to bring these two souces together under one roof. The site needed to be easy to navigate and accessible to all users. The design is modern and clean, with a focus on typography and imagery to match their existing publication style. Most importantly, the site needed to be easy for the editorial team to create and manage content that matched their vision.

Screenshot of the 'In the News' page with custom blocks.

Built using WordPress and the Gutenberg block editor, the design included custom blocks including: featured stories, layouts, gallery, and more. All of these are editable in the block editor and are 1:1 with the front end, making it easy for the editorial team to see what the final product will look like before publishing. This was accomplished by using built in React support in WordPress and taking advantage of newer CSS techniques like grid and flexbox.

The design also features a custom sticky mega menu with editable descriptions in the WordPress admin. The menu can be easily updated but also include extra information about the section the user is about to navigate to. It also stays on the screen at all times and changes theme depending on the content being viewed.

Publication articles combined with the custom blocks, help the editorial team create engaging stories that follow the newsletter look and feel in digital form. Publications could also be given customized landing pages to help promote them and their content while staying true to their printed counterparts.

Ninety days after launching the site, the newsroom had:

78% Increase in readers.

64% Increase in site visits.

72% Increase in pageviews compared to the previous year.

Operations ran smoothly, and as someone who has spent the majority of my career in ‘agency-land,’ I know how difficult that is. Thank you for making the launch of the revamped Newsroom and online St. Thomas Magazine a success. …You did an excellent job and I am very happy with the outcome and the opportunity to work with you.

Andy Ybarra, Associate Vice President of PR & Communications