Was asked to simplify the question. Here we go:
As you know, the "content" part of a WordPress posts all appears together. What I'm trying to recreate is how on several news sites, they'll have the title (and the rest of the "meta" stuff), followed by a photo or video, but then the body text is slightly indented either from the get-go (or shortly thereafter) to make room for a thin, left column that might display related stories, advertisements, additional meta data about the post itself, or even contain videos for the post itself.
- story highlights, related topics. Image and caption take up full width, but the highlights column indents body text.
- related articles, related topics, ads. Unlike the CNN example, the column actually starts partway through the body text.
My dilemma is that since the photo or video that starts each post is part of the "content," I can't indent the text and put in the column unless I were to do that manually for each post.
I've contemplated making a custom field for the image or video input to essentially "separate" it from the body text, but that might prove difficult, since I don't know how it would differentiate between an image URL and a YouTube URL or embed code.
Anyone have any better ideas?