Digitized Print

The school newspaper is going online


Anna Watson

Editor in Chief Jared Dusenberry and Co-Editor in Chief Asha Cooper discuss ideas for the SunDevil Times online web design. “The website is great for the timing of stories, now we can get stories out as soon as they’re written, which creates really amazing opportunities,” said Dusenberry.

Ariana Fletter, Managing Editor

In order to gain globally competitive skills and learn the industry standard, journalism students need to practice modern journalism: online story writing, digital photography, design, and advertising.

In November, the SunDevil Times received a Virginia Beach Education Foundation Innovative Learning grant of $2,000. The bulk of the grant money will be used to create an online version of the newspaper.

Journalism Advisor, Kathleen Trace has mixed feelings about going online.

“The reason we are going online is because former students have told me they need the online writing and design skills in college and career,” said Trace. “But I will miss the print newspaper and I am concerned about readership when we are not physically placing papers in students’ hands.”

This concern is shared by some students.

“I’m not too happy about the change,” said senior Layla Barnes. “I feel like people won’t read it. When someone walks by and hands me the physical paper it’s exciting and I want to look through it and see what looks interesting, but I probably wouldn’t pull out my phone or chromebook to go through it.”

Others think moving online will improve readership.

“I think that it can be a big step in the spread of the newspaper because no one can lose it and it’s easier transportation,” said freshman Marlee Riddle.

While some students may be reluctant to let the physical paper go, there is no denying that bringing the paper online comes with great benefits as well.

Going online will greatly increase the number of stories the newspaper staff can publish.

“We can reach a lot more people and stories can be sent out quickly and efficiently,” said Editor in Chief senior Jared Dusenberry.

This means that the newspaper staff can provide more coverage.

“With the print newspaper it could be weeks after something happens before the paper comes out, but online it can be nearly immediate,” said Trace.

The transition also gives journalism students the opportunity to be at the center of all decisions: how to migrate from print to online, the design of the website, how to gain readership, the content, etc. They are collaborating to decide how a digital paper can best serve the school community and how to implement those ideas.

“Going digital will give our paper a much greater reach,” said Trace. “We currently can only afford to print 200 copies of each issue, but digital content can be accessed by all students and the greater community at any time and the School Newspapers Online app will allow access to the paper from any device and lead to a greater connection between students and what is going on in their school and community. It will also allow for collaboration with other disciplines. For example, the paper will have the ability to connect with classes and run real-time polls to collect data for statistics, or opinions for psychology, etc.”

In order to improve readership of the online paper, the newspaper staff is brainstorming ideas to draw readers. Some of these ideas include: interactive posts and polls, more pictures, and videos. They are also considering having two shorter print papers during the year that lead readers to get more information online rather than getting rid of the physical paper entirely.

If you haven’t already download the Student News Source app on your phone, then select Salem High School, and get up to date on what is happening in the school and community.