The SNO Report: Get Your Badges

Happy New Year! If you don’t have a resolution already, we suggest resolving to become a 2022-2023 SNO Distinguished Site!

You can submit your site for the six different badges required to earn the Distinguished Site designation, or learn more about the specific requirements of each badge, by clicking the “SNO Badges” tab on your dashboard.

Below are some tips to help you achieve each of the badges.

Best of SNO – Our biggest tip with this badge is the old adage, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Here is a presentation that outlines what we are looking for in Best of SNO stories. You can also read the recent SNO report for tips and recent selections. For additional ideas and inspiration, the Best of SNO website is always being updated with new pieces.

Audience Engagement – Make sure your screenshot, which demonstrates that your site hit the analytics benchmarks, is from the SNO Analytics tab on your dashboard and includes the date range. Also, if there was no school on any of the days in the range submitted for the social media portion of this badge, note it in the comment box.

Multimedia – For videos, we are looking for stand-alone pieces that tell a compelling story. Refer to the videos that earned Best of SNO for examples of that style.

For the photo galleries, make sure that every photo has a caption and byline. All of the photos should be horizontal for optimal display on a desktop site. The easiest way to ensure that your photos will meet that guideline is to prepare them for optimal display before uploading them to the site.

For podcasts, in addition to the badge guidelines, make sure that you check your audio levels, ensuring that all the speakers are heard at roughly the same volume. You can avoid having to adjust levels in post-production by placing all speakers at the same distance from a microphone when recording the podcast.

Story Page Excellence – Make sure to include elements beyond the copy and featured image with these stories. If you haven’t done so yet, explore all the awesome things you can include in your story using the SNO Story Page Elements!

If you’re unfamiliar with the Long-FormSide-by-Side, or Grid story page templates, you can check out the support articles before planning stories that use them- specifically with these Advanced Story Page templates make sure the stories have both container and chapter components.

Continuous Coverage – For the Developing Stories portion of this badge, we are looking for a story to follow a single event over a length of time. Ideally, you will have a topic that lends itself to these stories, like the implementation of a new school policy where you might write the initial story about the policy, a follow-up story about the student reaction, and a third story about whether the new policy is achieving the desired effects.

If you are having difficulty finding a news story, some evergreen events that lend themselves to developing coverage would be homecoming week, or the play/musical. We are not looking for stories about multiple games or events from a single club or team.

For the Quick Coverage portion, make sure the stories you submit are written after the event, within two days of when it occurred.

Site Excellence – We changed one of the Site Excellence guidelines this year, which has caused some confusion; we no longer require you to redesign your live site. Your staff must now redesign the site as a design draft for guideline #10. When you submit your site for this badge consideration, we will open the design draft and compare it to your live site. We are looking to see substantial and structural changes to the header, footer, and widget homepage areas between the draft and the live site (here is an example of the kind of change we want to see).

Another issue to watch out for is copyrighted images.. Make sure to read SNO’s support article on how to avoid copyright infringement, and learn about copyright using SNO’s curriculum. Best practice is to create all of your own content instead of downloading existing graphics from a website.

Now that you have these tips, we hope you can earn some badges before school’s out! Go for one or two badges, or try and earn all six to become a SNO Distinguished Site! Earning a badge gets your school a place on our SNO Leaderboard! Distinguished Site winners receive a certificate, a badge widget you can display on your site, a letter to your principal, and a press release about how awesome your staff is!

Wishing you a wonderful 2023,
The SNO Patrol