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Why we highly recommend School Newspapers Online for scholastic journalism programs


We’ve been using School Newspapers Online here at NW Scholastic Press for over a year now. Started by a journalism teacher and a software trainer and project manager/product manager, they’ve anticipated almost everything you will need, making it easy to get started and easy to quickly develop a strong, journalistic presence for your school. Why does it work so well for school journalism programs? Here’s why.

Launched in the summer of 2008 by Jason Wallestad and Tom Hutchinson, School Newspapers Online is a company based in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. They focus entirely on the needs of scholastic news publications looking to create or enhance their presence on the Internet.

Jason has been a high-school newspaper adviser and teacher for over 17 years in Minnesota and South Dakota.  He is currently an English teacher and school newspaper adviser at Benilde-St. Margaret’s School in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. Tom worked for over 10 years as a software trainer, project manager, and product manager prior to School Newspapers Online.

School Newspapers Online began when they teamed up to build a school news Web site for the newspaper that Jason advises, the Knight Errant, which won  NSPA Online Pacemakers award in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. Since building this initial site, they have launched more than 700 websites for student publications.

The SNO team wrote their own WordPress code to create an online website that doesn’t look like just another WordPress blog. It looks like a newspaper, you can customize it for your program, and there are three different templates currently available. Once you sit down and start using it, you will quickly figure out the strategies and tricks to make it work just the way you need it to. Messing around with it is the key to learning it, but the learning curve isn’t steep and it isn’t complicated. Everything you already know about journalism applies to using SNO’s service.

I have to confess that as I was messing around, I made a few mistakes and the team at SNO was very professional and helped me fix them or find new solutions. Sometimes it was as simple as them recommending a widget, sometimes it involved minor changes to our site’s WordPress code, and once it was simply telling me not just that something wasn’t possible, but why I wouldn’t want to do it, anyway.

As we’ve said before, their online help and training materials are excellent, and in the unlikely event your question is not covered there, you can submit a support ticket and your question or problem will be dealt with promptly, honestly, patiently, efficiently, knowledgeably, and informatively.

In addition to providing you with their unique templates and online help and training site, SNO also provides all the technical services you need such as domain hosting and domain name registration. Most recently, in January SNO began its new SNO Online Ad Network service, which is optional for its customers but as it grows will help pay for a school’s online fees. Just like an ad agency that gets a commission from the media outlet when it places an ad, 70 percent of the revenue goes to your program, and 30 percent goes to SNO to operate the service.

Today’s news that the School Newspaper Online Ad Network is partnering with a network of ad agencies is welcome news, but even better is that SNO retains the right to approve or reject any of the ads to ensure only content-appropriate ads are displayed on its customers’ websites who use the SNO Online Ad Network service. What could be better than generating income from the SNO Ad Network each year that helps pay for your annual SNO renewal fee? Like the real world, the more readers SNO clients have, the more they can charge for ads which means more income for you. Building readership of your webpage at your school is the key to generating revenue.

We imagine the team at SNO will be providing advice and assistance in the future about how to build your own program’s readership. It is also possible for you to place your own local ads on your page, allowing your staff to sell and create their own ads and help pay for the annual SNO subscription.  (More info here: http://www.schoolnewspapersonline.com/get-started/)

If you’ve already got a WordPress website and would like to migrate to the new service, SNO can take care of that, too. There are other add-on features and services you can take advantage of, but we think starting with a basic plan offers a robust experience if you’re just getting started. It’s an inexpensive solution to moving journalism to an electronic platform, with the added benefit of sound and video. With budgets getting smaller, at least in Oregon, paying for a basic plan provides everything you need at a price your principal can afford. Remember, you can start with a basic plan and add features and services as you discover you need them.

Journalism in the Northwest is facing challenging times, but the Northwest is wired and ready for online content, and there is no better way than School Newspapers Online to get started and be on the cutting edge. SNO’s got your back, and it’s run by people like you who know what you want and need.

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PRESS RELEASE

SNO Ad Network Update:  Reptide Media

We are pleased to announce a new partnership between Reptide Media and the SNO Ad Network.  Reptide will be our exclusive partner in selling the SNO Ad Network 300×250 ad position to national and regional advertisers.  Reptide, who has offices and sales reps across the country, provides access to hundreds of ad agencies and advertisers through its national sales force.

The new partnership was implemented on June 15, and Reptide ads are currently displaying on sites that have opted into the SNO Ad Network.  Reptide has years of experience representing the 18-34 age demographic, and we believe that this provides us with the best opportunity to recruit new advertisers to our growing list of sites.  SNO retains the right to approve or reject all ads sold through Reptide, ensuring that only content-appropriate ads are displayed.

Turning over the selling responsibilities to Reptide allows us to focus our efforts on what we enjoy most:  Adding new customers and helping scholastic news organizations grow their site traffic.

To learn more about the SNO Ad Network opportunities for your site and to opt in to the network, please visit this page.

About Reptide Media

Though its partners’ sites, Reptide Media represents over 90 million monthly unique users between 18-34 years old, and they focus on building smart, compelling, narrative ad campaigns that connect with audiences and enhance the website brand.

About the SNO Ad Network

The SNO Ad Network was launched in January 2012 to help connect scholastic news organizations with national and regional advertisers seeking to reach a growing audience of high school and college students.  Programs participating in the optional SNO Ad Network keep 70% of all revenue earned on their site.

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