Wordpress multisite -- what to do?

I advise a campus newspaper at a university that consolidated with another school last year. We are trying to consolidate the separate newspaper web sites now.

Currently, we have three sites (three campuses), all running Wordpress. I have set up a unified Wordpress site on Dreamhost, and we’d like to move the three individual sites to Dreamhost as well (they’re on different hosts).

We want to maintain the three individual campus sites, while funneling the best stories and photos to the main site. All four sites will use the same Wordpress theme. The main site will be the portal to our entire university’s student media, so it needs to look nice.

We currently use RSS feeds to link to each campus’ stories. However, we would like to find an easier and more attractive way to pull stories from the individual sites to the main site without copying, creating a new posting, uploading photos, etc. I have searched for plugins to do this to no avail.

Would it be best for us to use Wordpress Multisite and put all three sites (four, really, counting the main site) into the same hosting account on Dreamhost? From looking on this forum and in other places, I see that this can cause problems, and we do not have a lot of technical support. Also, I’m not sure we can afford anything beyond shared hosting right now – none of the sites get tons of hits, but we hope those will go up.

Or would it be easier just to move the sites to Dreamhost into separate shared accounts and have the student editors copy and paste the stories and upload the photos twice?

I hope this makes sense. Each of our campus sites is run by different students, but we do have one student acting as editor in chief for all the sites who will be responsible for the main site.

Thanks for any help or advice you can give.

I have seen various plugins over the years that sort of do things like you are asking. For example:

But none of the solutions seemed to be really great.

I wonder if consolidating to a single site might be more applicable to what you want? Just brain-storming, but having a single site, rather than multi-sites, would make pulling “featured” posts or stories to the home-page from different parts of the site much easier (perhaps a custom-taxonomy to mark a certain story as “featured” and then the home-page could show the most recent 4 featured posts)

Thanks, I’m going to look into that plugin.

I think you’re right, a single site might be best. But we’re probably going to have to gradually move in that direction – we have three different campuses, three different groups of students, and three different advisers. The campuses themselves are very different, too, and each has a tradition of having its own newspaper and web site.

I think Drupal might give us more fine-grained control of the content, but I’m not very familiar with it.

Here is another plugin from the same company that does something that might be of interest:

I would suggest http://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-mu-sitewide-tags/ actually. It will “copy” the post to your main site, but in an SEO friendly way.

Using RSS like you are will cause WP to crash eventually, as it’s making too many recursive calls.

Have you considered using a single site and create a category for each of the campuses? The visitor can sort/view by category.

Just my 2 c.