Best of SNO

The SNO Report: Best of SNO & SNO Distinguished Sites Updates

Best of SNO Updates + Changes

The temperature may be cooling down (at least up here at SNO headquarters), but the Best of SNO season is definitely heating up!

Here’s a quick look at some of our current Best of SNO stats at the time of writing:

  • Over 6,500 stories submissions from 391 participating schools
  • Over 600 total stories published from 174 schools 
  • 10% overall publication rate so far this year

And while we’re on the topic of Best of SNO, we’ve got a few big changes to announce.

Starting today, schools will only be eligible to submit one story per weekday (Monday-Friday), and submissions will be closed over the weekends. Everything else will stay the same, meaning you can still have up to three total stories submitted at any given time, and stories must still follow all of the same submission criteria.

So why the big change? We started Best of SNO in an effort to celebrate and promote excellent student journalism, and we want to do more of it! We hate to reject stories, but with such a high volume of daily submissions, we end up doing it more often than we’d like.

Ultimately, our goal with this change is two-fold:

  1. By limiting story submissions to one per day, we hope it will allow news staffs to discuss, narrow down and select their absolute best of the best for submissions.
  2. In turn, we hope this will lead to a higher percentage of published stories, more published schools, and more opportunities for your work to truly stand out.

Plus, with one daily submission, there are still 160+ chances for publication throughout the year.

Need some inspiration? Feel free to peruse some of our recently published Best of SNO stories.

Looking for some additional support and guidance? Check out this presentation for general tips and pointers on what makes a story Best of SNO worthy, or sign up here for one of next week’s Best of SNO webinars where we’ll dive into our Best of SNO criteria in more detail. Advisers and students are welcome.

Distinguished Sites Updates

Not to be forgotten, our Distinguished Sites program has been heating up, too!

So far this year, seven sites have already earned their Distinguished Site recognition, and over 80 schools have earned at least one badge.

Not familiar with Distinguished Sites? Here’s a quick breakdown. The Distinguished Sites program is composed of six badges, each representing what SNO sees as the six components of a modern news website. Sites are assessed in the areas of site excellence, story page design, writing, multimedia, coverage and audience engagement. Once a site earns all six badges, they officially achieve their Distinguished Site status.

While there are no big changes to announce with Distinguished Sites, here are a few helpful reminders for working toward your badges:

  1. Badge submissions are unlimited. This means that news staffs can apply for a given badge as many times as necessary throughout the year.
  2. We provide feedback. If a badge submission is rejected, our reviewers will provide specific feedback and action steps that you and your staff can take to make corrections and resubmit the badge.
  3. The badges are meant to promote learning and site excellence. We want to support your program’s success as an online publication, and we hope that working toward the badges encourages this process!

Want additional information on each badge? Check the SNO Badges dashboard section of your site, and click on each individual badge for specific criteria.

Looking for some inspiration? Check out some of this year’s badge recipients and see what they’re doing well.

Need some additional pointers or tips? Skim through this presentation for a detailed list of badge requirements, or sign up here for one of next week’s Distinguished Sites webinars where we’ll explore the different badges and answer any questions related to our Distinguished Sites program. Advisers and students are welcome.