SNO FLEX gets our stamp of approval for new responsive design, photo display options, fresh design options, low cost and money-saving potential
School Newspapers Online earns our highest recommendation for ease of use, customer service, design, and functionality.
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(May 22, 2013) — SNO FLEX is the latest, greatest upgrade you should have from School Newspapers Online, the leading provider of websites for high school and college newspaper programs across the nation. The new responsive design allows your news site to be easily read on a smart phone, tablet or computer. In addition, you can now experiment with all the design templates to find the one that’s just right for your program. You can now add Google fonts to customize your site’s look from the wide variety of typefaces available.
SNO FLEX templates have fresh, fun new design options, including the showcase carousel or photoblock to display top stories, more control and additional features over where the breaking news ticker. menu bars, and other information appears in the browser window to help you create content that can be easily read on almost any reader device. In addition is the long-awaited SNO Photo Gallery Widget that allows you to display a photo gallery from the images attached to any story on your site. (This plugin is only compatible with the SNO FLEX framework from School Newspapers Online.)
The WordPress platform has been customized for online news operations, allowing editors or advisers to review all staff-written copy before it is published. Content can be scheduled for publication at specific times and dates so you can deliver content to your readers when they are most likely to read it. SNO Site Analytics helps you and your staff crunch the numbers to learn what stories readers choose to read and when they read it, providing real-time feedback to improve reporting, writing, packaging and delivery of your content to your audience.
Strapped for cash? No worries as the SNO Ad Network plus your ability to sell, design and post ads on your own site can reduce that cost to practically nothing. The SNO Ad Network offers national, regional, and local advertisers the opportunity to reach a growing audience of high school and college students through their school newspaper’s website. The SNO Ad Network currently includes nearly 200 (and growing daily) scholastic news sites. SNO Ad Network staff carefully screen ads, track the number of times each ad has been viewed, and provides payment to your publication.SNOsites for an entire year will cost about the same as one or two issues of your newspaper: The total first year cost for a new site for K-12 journalism programs is $600 (this price is based on a $300 set-up fee plus a $300 hosting fee). The total cost for each subsequent year is a $300 hosting fee. The hosting fee includes domain registration, domain management, one year of hosting, and unlimited support.
Having used SNO for the last two years, we were already big fans of SNOsites for delivery of news created by writers, photographers, artists and sales staffs. The new SNO FLEX platform takes your online news presence to the next level with the latest state-of-the-art features:
User Roles and Permissions – With WordPress user accounts and permissions, you decide who has access to add and publish content to your site. Do you want to review every story before it is published? No problem.
Dynamic Homepage – Every time you add a new story, your site will automatically place your newest content on your front page. The site automatically creates a 20-40 word teaser for each story to maximize the content that readers first see when they look at your site.
Story Packages – With each story, you can include extras, such as a photo, a caption, a byline, a photo credit line, a slideshow, a video, or an audio clip — wherever your story appears on your site, that extra information will also automatically appear. Our SNO FLEX platform also automatically adds a list of related stories whenever a full story is displayed.
Simple Publishing – Everything you need to do to manage the site –– posting stories, editing stories, uploading photos, changing the polls, adding music and video –– all can be done through a password-protected interface. Your site’s control panel has a built-in story editor; all you do is copy and paste your story, and the site does all the formatting for you.
Categorization – Organize your site by assigning stories to categories and subcategories to help your readers find the stories that interest them most. Your site’s navigation system is built around the categories you create. If your reader clicks on a category name, your site will show the ten most recent stories posted in that category. You can have an unlimited number of categories and subcategories on your site.
Search – Your site will have a built-in search feature to make it easy for readers to find just the story they’re looking for. All they have to do is type in a word or phrase in the search box, and any story with that word will appear in the search results.
Automated Archives – All stories that you add to your site are automatically archived. Readers can find them with in three different ways: the search feature, clicking on a category name in the navigation bar and then browsing the list of stories, or by clicking on a month in the archive list.
Commenting – Your readers can respond to any story on your site so that your news publication can become a forum for conversation in your school. Your site will wait for you to approve a comment before that comment appears on your site.
RSS Feed – Your site broadcasts your headlines on an RSS feed. In other words, someone can set their Web browser to automatically retrieve your headlines –– they can see what you’re writing about even if they don’t visit your site.
Multimedia – Your site is built with a powerful photo managing tool that allows you to display galleries and slideshows of photos. You can easily post songs and podcasts on your site and display videos. These features are all included in the SNO FLEX platform.
Interactive Polls – You can now learn what your readers think. All our designs have a built-in poll feature. In addition to the poll you see on the homepage of each of our designs, you can easily add a poll to any story that you publish.
…and much, much more.
We gave the new SNO FLEX platform a thorough road test, and were thoroughly impressed and delighted with the potential for greatness the tools and platform offer to scholastic news staffs. That’s why we’re giving SNO FLEX the official stamp of approval, and our highest recommend to SNO FLEX for both new and returning customers. Way to go, SNO!
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(June 25, 2012) — 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.
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.