More SNO Distinguished Sites Tips & Tricks

Throughout the week, we’ll be sharing tips and advice from advisers whose staffs have already achieved Distinguished Site status this year.

Yesterday, we talked organization. Today, we’re focusing on the badges themselves. Whether you want to earn one or two before the year’s up or achieve all six and become a SNO Distinguished Site, check out a few pointers from our Distinguished Site advisers below.

  • Best of SNO: “…I would say to submit to Best of SNO often, but only do so with quality contenders: we looked at and analyzed other schools’ winning pieces to better understand what SNO is looking for in terms of content.” – Leslie Fireman (West Chicago Community High School)

  • Audience Engagement: “…I already have two students dedicated to social media coverage, so they worked to make sure they had a plan for every day of the month….They planned ahead and designed posts and even scheduled them sometimes.” – Julieanne McClain (Rutherford B. Hayes High School)

  • Multimedia: “For most staffs, the Multimedia badge is the hardest. Work multimedia coverage into your normal routine. Whether it’s a couple of people or the whole staff, there should be people creating podcastsvideosphoto galleries for your publication throughout the year, not just for badge submission time…” – Brit Taylor (Hagerty High School)

  • Story Page Excellence: “Assign two students the job of master builder. They are responsible for learning about the different ways to build stories. Then have them work with people on picking the build that best enhances their story. Essentially, they will train everyone else on creative builds. Also show them how the Best of SNO recipients usually have creative and engaging builds–it’s part of good storytelling.” – Mary Long (Downers Grove South High School)

  • Continuous Coverage: “…we created a giant chart/spreadsheet on the white board of our publications lab with each section of our website (news, features, etc) and 5 weeks at the top. We planned for a story in each box (one story per section per week). We planned for more than 4 sections and more than 4 weeks so that in case something fell through, it didn’t ruin the entire plan. That gave us a Plan B (and a Plan C) if we needed it.” – Julieanne McClain (Rutherford B. Hayes High School)

  • Site Excellence: “Our editors have found the SNO tutorials and accompanying videos to be a huge help in this area.” – Keith Harrison (Baldwin High School)

As we mentioned in yesterday’s report, we think an important part of the process is remembering the “why.” Earning badges is fun, but ultimately we hope that in doing so, your online publication will improve.

  • “It isn’t easy to become a SNO Distinguished Site. In fact, the process of becoming a SNO Distinguished Site can be time consuming and frustrating, especially when a badge submission is rejected. HOWEVER, the SNO Distinguished Site program absolutely has made Wingspan a better site as it has forced us to evaluate our current practices while at the same time leading us to try different things and take advantage of the options offered by SNO.” – Brian Higgins (Liberty High School)

Looking for more badge-specific guidance? Check out our recorded webinar for a breakdown of each badge.