Twenty-seven SNO customer sites named Crown Award hybrid finalists

The Columbia Scholastic Press Association recently released the list of2017 Crown Award finalists for publications using a hybrid format, and several SNO customers have been named finalists.

Crown Awards are given for overall excellence in student news publication. Hybrid publications earn finalist ranking by achieving excellence in both online and print formats and are judged in head-to-head comparison. Judges consider design, photography, concept, coverage and writing.
This year, 1,190 publications were eligible for Crown consideration, and 56 hybrid format papers have been selected as finalists for overall excellence. The list of finalists will be divided into publications earning a Silver Crown and those earning a Gold Crown. Final results will be announced at theCSPA ceremonies in March.
Check out the 27 SNO customers that have been named finalists:

Congratulations finalists, you’re doing really incredible work.  For a complete list of finalists, please visit the CSPA website.

The SNO Report: Online Lit Mags FTW

Here’s the thing: in the literary publishing game, print has always been king. Readers and writers alike have bowed, mystified, before the gatekeepers of the print literary magazine while dismissing online publications. But the game has changed. In our culture of hyper-connectedness, a link to a published story can be more valuable than a physical copy because it’s infinitely shareable. A writer who publishes work online suddenly has a huge potential audience, and one with a dramatically wider reach than most print publications. Online is the place to be for today’s writers.

At SNO, we couldn’t be happier with this trend: people are writing really good stuff and consumers are hungry for fresh, new, and accessible literature. We can help with that. Our FLEX WordPress platform is designed to be fully customizable, so your school can launch its online lit mag with the same ease of design and access as your newspaper. Custom header graphics, menu, and widget options allow you to arrange and change your site as often as you like. With all the design optionsavailable, your editorial staff can have a real hand in managing the aesthetics of the site. And in the grand tradition of literary publishing, define-able user access roles can allow the Editor-in-Chief and editorial board to screen and curate the work published on their site.

Check out lit mags Apotheosis and Cougar Tales to see the different ways they’ve used the platform. We’re pretty impressed with what they’ve done.

Questions? Talk to us! We’d be happy to chat with you about getting your lit mag off the ground and out into the atmosphere–– the air is pretty good out here.

Fundraising Success

A couple of weeks ago, we let you know about our partnership with Pledgebrite, the web-based platform that makes it easy to launch an online fundraising campaign. The staff at Bloomington South’s The Optimist took us up on the offer, and they have raised over $1100 in two short weeks. To get started with your own fundraiser, just fill out this form.

Reunions, Retinas and Rapper’s Delight: this week on Best of SNO

Best of SNO submissions have been rolling in and we’re loving it. This week, students at The John Carroll School surprise a peer by flying his mother in from Nigeria for graduation, a baseball player nearly loses an eye to a golf accident, and the kids at Kingwood Park are killin’ it on the music scene. Read on for our weekly picks.

Community helps senior reunite with mother – Grace Mottley and Caroline Cooney, The John Carroll School
“Their generosity and dedication surprised Tertsea, his mother, and the community, but their act of kindness has revealed the selfless and generous spirit of the community.”

Unforeseeable future – Hannah Ortega, Lovejoy High School
“Despite the fact that, for a time, Jacob experienced the prospect of not having a right eyeball at all and of never playing baseball again, he remained positive with the help of loved ones.”

Rock Stars of K-Park – Emily Humble, Sarah Martell, Kylee Wing, Kingwood Park High School
“A lot of people in Kingwood are making music,” Ponce said, “and we have something going on really.”

A powerful discussion – Blythe Terry, Starr’s Mill High School
“Even though part of her message involves the frustrating, saddening aspects of mental illness, she feels that it’s paramount to understand that there can be a happy ending.”

Day after encampment sweep, refugees return to central Paris – Allegra Knox and Tailor Liedtke, American School of Paris
“Before the Friday sweep, sidewalks near the metro station were carpeted with mattresses and tents. On Saturday, a garbage truck could be seen stuffed with mattresses that had been left behind.”

Best of SNO is open for submissions!

Best of SNO features outstanding student journalism from members of the SNO Network. We believe that by recognizing and sharing the best work out there, we can help inspire students to continue cultivating fresh ideas and exploring new and innovative approaches to journalism.

Many advisers use examples from Best of SNO as teaching tools in the classroom. Check out some of the stories that have already grabbed our attention:

  • A student at Parkway West outlines the strengths and weaknesses of Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s campaign.
  • Timeless Gene Wilder strikes the fancy of a budding thespian at Canyon High School in this funny and smart memorial.

  • Starr’s Mill student Spencer Dawson traces the history of Title IX and its impact on high school sports today in this story, now featured in Best of SNO.

Best of SNO is now open for submissions! We publish new content daily, so we’re always looking for new material to show off. Great writing, original images, audio, video –– we love well-done journalism. Stories should be previously published on your own news site and should be engaging, concise, and relevant. Check out the rest of our guidelines here.

Stories submitted to Best of SNO are reviewed and published daily, and students who have work featured in Best of SNO will receive a PDF certificate recognizing their achievement. Any school that has three stories published in Best of SNO will receive the Excellence in Writing badge, and the badge will be displayed next to their publication name on the SNO client list.

Submit today!  We can’t wait to start reading.

The SNO Report: SNO recognizes 27 student websites as SNO Distinguished Sites

The 2015-16 academic year is almost over –– in fact, for many of you, it already is. Whether you’re struggling through your last week of finals or you had finished cleaning out your locker weeks ago, summer break is here, and we know you’re all excited about the prospect of taking some much-needed time off. Journalism programs in the SNO network have something else to look forward to, too –– the recognition and pride that comes with being named a SNO Distinguished Site.

Twenty-seven student news websites earned the title of 2016 SNO Distinguished Site after earning badges in each of six areas of distinction. These badges recognize achievement in what SNO views as the best practices of a successful modern news website: story page design, writing, multimedia, continuing coverage, audience engagement, and overall excellence in website design.

The sites awarded this year’s SNO Distinguished Site award are:

SNO created the Distinguished Sites program two years ago with the goal of eliminating the ambiguity of what makes a good online student news site. SNO provides detailed guidelines for each badge, and encourages schools to make improvements and reapply if at first they don’t succeed.

Natalie Rebetsky, adviser of the Distinguished Site award winning Lance at Linganore High School, believes the recognition program encouraged her staff to really explore the features of their SNO site, explaining that “this is also the first time we really looked a side rails, grids, etc. . ., and several students changed their stories and re-published them –– with great enthusiasm.  We designed a new series that will be a container story with chapters –– something we would not have thought of before this semester.”

With many of this season’s Distinguished Sites being repeat awardees, the program has fostered an atmosphere of continuing excellence.

Overall, a total of 102 different scholastic news sitesearned a variety of badges over the course of the past six months, with 27 of those programs earning all six badges and earning the title of SNO Distinguished Site.

The 2017 SNO Distinguished Sites program will be announced at the start of the 2017 academic school year.  We will have some exciting changes to look forward to concerning new (and slightly revamped) badges moving into next season; we will be introducing a new badge based on Best Practices and Web Standards, which will look at a variety of elements, such as your site’s editorial statement, staff page, and the appropriate use and crediting of images. We will also be re-working the current Site Excellence badge into a more focused badge called Homepage Excellence, which will look exclusively at the design and layout of your site’s homepage.

The SNO Report: Best of the Best of SNO

Well, we made it – another school year means another nine months of stellar Best of SNO submissions from so many supremely talented young journalists – and what better way to wrap up another fantastic season than to acknowledge our very favorite stories published on Best of SNO this school year? A huge congratulations to all of the writers and staffs below! If you don’t see your school listed here, don’t be discouraged – we easily could have selected enough favorites to come up with hundreds of award categories, if only we had the time to spare.

Without further ado, we present the 2015-2016 Best of Best of SNO!

Best editorial on a school or local issue:
Not-so-socially-acceptable mediaMimi Wright, Kirkwood High School

Best editorial on a national or international issue:
Tick-tock goes the…bomb?Summer Thomad, Southwest Career and Technical Academy

Best opposing viewpoints:
Versus: Pro-Choice and Pro-LifeRebekah Rosenstein, Michelle McDaniel, Legacy High School

Best use of infographic:
How should you spend your Thanksgiving season?Justin Sweeney, Mary Stuart Murray, Kirkwood High School

Best use of innovative design:
The New GenderationMadeline Bowne, Ashley Cooper, Sonia Kim, Lanxi Li and Jenna Myers, Cherry Hill High School East

Best sports coverage:
My life on the rinkCaroline Puckett, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Best news coverage, health edition:
Crickets become the new protein sourceJohn Bandek, Clark Magnet High School

Best news coverage, education edition:
Standardized redundancy: The failure of American testingHenry Dikeman, Apple Valley High School

Best political coverage:
Kanye graduates from hip-hop to politicsBria Blassingame, Our Lady of Good Counsel High School

Best metajournalism:
Publications statewide must stand behind first amendmentKaylee Chamberlain and Hannah Bernstein, St. Louis Park High School

Best movie review:
The Force falls asleep in new Star Wars movieSophie Haddad, Carlmont High School

Best use of story page template:
Top 15 albums of 2015Henry Youtt, Liberty High School

Best investigative reporting by an individual:
Schools not notified of students with sex offensesZia Kelly, Lawrence High School

Best investigative reporting by a group:
Homelessness in Iowa: A hidden issueAndi Munford, Vivian Le, Waukee High School

Best feature in a series:
Kit-fox probe beginsJoe Bergman, Bakersfield College

Best technology exposé:
The social media maskLilly Stannard, John Carroll School

Best photojournalism:
A day at the shelter Minju Kang, West Ranch High School

Best student profile:
SongbirdAlex Walters, McKinney Boyd High School

Best alumnus profile:
Journalism students speak to ABC evening reporter Natasha BarrettKamryn Kobal, Cypress Ranch High School

Best creative editorial:
I didn’t know – Nicholas Smith, Lovejoy High School

Best informative journalism:
A breakdown of what it means to be transgenderRose Rodriguez, Sartell High School

The Logan Aimone best critter profile:
Meet the Geese 2: Geesepocolypse Hannah Hoffmann, Parkway West High School
(Honorable mention: Unique pets: four students share their crittersEmma Froseth, Benilde-St. Margaret’s)

And there you have it! As always, Best of SNO will be taking a break over the summer, but will resume publishing your fantastic work come August. Have a great summer, and we can’t wait to read more of your submissions next year!

The SNO Report: We’re bringing SNO to a summer workshop near you

Members of the SNO Patrol are hitting the road this summer in unprecedented fashion to deliver SNO-centric and digital media training at regional workshops throughout the country.  Review our schedule below, and make plans for you or your staff members to join us at one of these terrific workshops.

Fundraising made easy

Just a reminder that we recently announced new fundraising partnership aimed at helping our members raise funds for any expenses — workshop fees, convention travel, equipment purchases, printing costs, etc.  To view a live fundraiser, visit this link. To get started with your own fundraiser, just fill out this form.

SNODrift Webinars

Join us for our SNODrift webinar tomorrow, April 21st, at 3:00 p.m. EST/2:00 p.m. CST. This week, we’ll be discussing basic homepage design, focusing primarily on all of the features located in the SNO Design Options section of your website. You can join the live webinar – keep in mind that some school networks do block web-based calling, so you may need a phone to access the audio portion of the conference.

Sixteen SNO customer sites awarded the Pacemaker by NSPA

On Saturday, April 16, 2016 the National Scholastic Press Association announced its top awards for scholastic press organizations.  We are pleased to share that 16 of the 25 Online Pacemaker Award winners are members of the SNO community, and eight of those 16 are first-time Pacemaker winners.

The winning sites are:

Congratulations to the advisers and staffs of these tremendous programs.  For a complete list of winners, please visit the NSPA website.

The SNO Report: Two new ways to raise money for your program ?

We know that budgets are tight today for schools, and scholastic journalism programs can be hit especially hard by funding cuts. That’s why we are excited to announce two new programs designed to help teachers and students on the SNO platform raise funds for their journalism programs.

Fundraising made easy

We’ve partnered with Pledgebrite to offer SNO customers simple online tools for fundraising. Through this partnership, your program is able to set up a crowdfunding site within minutes to raise funds for equipment purchases, printing and hosting costs, field trips, conventional travel, and anything else your journalism program needs.

All donations are managed online through credit card payments, so there’s no need for you and your staff to spend hours trying to track down the cash. When your fundraising campaign ends, we’ll send you a check for 85% of what’s collected online. The remaining 15% goes toward paying the credit card fees and serving costs related to the fundraiser. It’s as simple as that.

To view a sample fundraiser, visit this link. To get started with your own fundraiser, just fill out this form.

Online advertising marketplace

The two biggest hassles in selling online advertising are collecting the money and creating the ads. We’ve solved both of these problems with a new self-service online advertising marketplace. Instead of trading emails with advertisers and waiting for their checks to arrive in the mail, you can now direct your advertising prospects to your site’s listing on the marketplace to purchase their ad and upload their own creative. You can rest assured that no inappropriate ads will make it onto your site, as all ads are reviewed and approved by SNO staff before going live.

When an ad is sold and approved for your site, we’ll apply 65% of the earnings as a credit to your SNO account. The remaining 35% goes toward paying the credit card fees and the administrative costs associated with licensing the marketplace software and managing the financial transactions. Any earnings above and beyond your SNO fees will be issued back to your program at the end of each school year.

To view a sample list, visit this link. To add your site to the online marketplace, just fill out this form.

Have questions about our new programs? Just drop us a line.

Twelve SNO customer sites named Gold Crown winners by CSPA ?

On Friday, March 18, 2016, the Columbia Scholastic Press Associationannounced its top awards for scholastic press publications. We are pleased to announce that twelve SNO customer websites were named Gold Crown winners in digital categories.

One SNO customer was awarded a Gold Crown in the digital division:

Eleven SNO customers were awarded Gold Crowns in the hybrid division:

Congratulations to the advisers and staffs of these tremendous programs.  For a complete list of winners, please visit the CSPA website.