A showcase of the best student journalism being produced by members of our network. Updated daily, the site acknowledges students’ hard work. For advisers, it’s a great place to mine for teachable examples of quality writing.
In case you’ve been living in a moon crater for the last two decades, here’s a news flash: the internet is revolutionizing journalism. Reporters know it. Educators know it. So do printers, editors, and the guy who refills news stands. You wouldn’t be reading this otherwise, and this website would probably belong to a Norwegian travel agency.
We’re not here to snub print papers. We think they’re A-OK. But let’s be honest: print just isn’t enough anymore. No longer can journalism survive on InDesign alone. Readers don’t just want online content, they expect it. Journalists with digital media skills are in high demand. The tides are changing. Preparing your students for success means embracing that change. Viva la revolución!
Mo’ money, no problems. Publishing online is much, much cheaper than publishing in print. Nay, you say? Go ahead, crunch those numbers. If SNO’s not significantly less expensive, we’ll eat our hats (and we’ll freeze to death if we do that, so we’re pretty confident here).
Know thy audience. It’s hard to tell who’s reading your print paper. Principal Jones? The lunchlady? Helicopter parents? That kid who glued his nose to his desk in calculus? Who knows? A SNO site gives you access to the demographic data you’ve been dreaming of.
Tweet your heart out. If social media gives you hypertension, relax—used intelligently, it can be a powerful force for good. Young journalists can learn how to network, promote their stories, and communicate concisely, all while interacting with readers in real time.
The fast and the curious. When big news happens, waiting a month to cover it can be deadly. Readers are impatient creatures. With an online newspaper, you can publish breaking stories whenever—and post updates as they develop.
All the cool kids. Are half the “students” on your staff actually cardboard cutouts of Dan Rather? Going online can revitalize a stagnant program or poorly-attended club. Make journalism relatable and appealing, and you’ll be amazed at the enthusiasm you unearth.
Archive like a boss. Do you really want to be digging through stinky yellow newsprint in three years, looking for that one story about that thing? With a SNO site, old stories are neatly and effortlessly archived. Not to brag, but it really blows microfiche out of the water.
No such thing as a free ______.
The word “free” is kind of like the word “natural”: both make customers drool, and neither means what you think it does.
No company can survive without a source of revenue. They just can’t. Sometimes, companies are upfront about these sources. Sometimes, not so much. So be wary of anyone who offers to host your website for free with no strings attached. Someone, somewhere, is getting a paycheck, and if you can’t figure out how, there may be more strings than you think.
Ad infinitum. Free services often place ads on your site that you can’t control and don’t profit from. Want to remove them? Just buy the “premium” package.
SNO will never force you to display ads—for us or anyone else. You can sell your own advertising if you want to, and keep 100% of the profit. Or you can enjoy a blissfully ad-free existence.
Terms of disservice. Check out the fine print. You just might be granting those free services a “perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, unrestricted, worldwide license to use, copy, modify, transmit, sell, exploit, create derivative works from, distribute, and/or publicly perform or display such material, in whole or in part, in any manner or medium (whether now known or hereafter developed), for any purpose that we choose.” (No, we didn’t make that up.)
With SNO, you own all your content. Full stop. We won’t sell it, distribute it, and we certainly won’t exploit it. When it comes to profit, we believe in full transparency. We charge a fee for the development, hosting, and support services we provide. That’s it. And here’s our terms of service, by the way.
Marketing 101. A product that caters to everyone can’t possibly meet everyone’s needs. A school newspaper and an exotic cat breeder require very different websites. A free service might offer 65 templates, but all are designed for mass appeal.
SNO’s been thinking about you for a long time. School news is our bread and butter, so we tailor our services accordingly. And with a journalism adviser as our co-founder, SNO knows what you need from a site—and what you don’t.
Pack mentality. Do you really want a factory-farmed website? It may be free, but it’s also jammed onto a server with as many others as possible. That means sluggish loading and more downtime—especially during peak hours.
SNO has a huge bank of servers*, and we’re not afraid to use ’em. Our sites get millions of page views per month, so we make sure there’s plenty of pasture to go around.
* [geek] All SNO servers are powered by dual Intel Xeon Hex Core processors at 2.5Ghz with HyperThreading enabled, and housed in American datacenters with high-performance, carrier-neutral data lines. [/geek]
Choose your own adventure.
You ask Whiz Kid, a freakishly smart student in your journalism class, to build a website for your paper. And holy moly, it looks great! You never learn how to use the site, since Whiz Kid takes care of everything. So you kick back! Life is good.
Then Whiz Kid graduates and heads off to MIT or Carnegie Mellon, leaving your site shipwrecked. Nobody else knows how to log in, let alone post stories. Whiz Kid is too busy studying electronuclear astrofusion to reply to your increasingly desperate emails. Your staff, defeated, retreats from the web, and your paper returns to being a print-only dinosaur.
We see Whiz Kid situations far too often. It’s fantastic when students take on that kind of responsibility—but when they’re gone, maintaining your site’s integrity can be a challenge. Why tackle that challenge alone? No matter if you’re totally tech-savvy or still using Netscape, SNO equips you with tools for success—year after year after year:
- The experience and knowledge of actual advisers
- Trainings to keep you and your staff on your toes
- Frequent software updates and security monitoring
- A network of journalism educators who share your passion
- Unwavering, unlimited, unparalleled support
Think of us as your permanent Whiz Kid. We’ll never graduate, but we’ll always be at the head of your class.
We ❤ overachievers.
“Too much education destroyed my life,” said nobody ever. At SNO, we believe in constant curiosity and growth. Whether you’re a middle-schooler or teach middle-schoolers, there’s always something new to learn, especially in an evolving field like journalism.
When you become a SNO customer, you’re automatically accepted into the SNO University of Journalism on a full-ride scholarship. Don’t worry, you don’t have to come to Minnesota to attend. You won’t find any exams, grades, or homework here—just a treasure chest of journalism resources, lovingly curated for you. Find some inspiration. Get excited. Get going.