Lancer Media becomes SNO Distinguished Site 2017


Lily Weaver

Principal Nancy Doll presents journalism advisor, Natalie Rebetsky, with SNO plaque

Lancer Media has won the Student Newspapers Online’s, SNO, Distinguished Site Award for the second year in a row. SNO sponsors 2,086 different high school newspapers, and Lancer Media was the ninth high school website to win this annual award. Last year’s accomplishment was earned in April. This time, the newspaper staff achieved the six badges a  month earlier.

To earn the highest honor, The Lance had to win six individual awards first. These awards include Story Page Excellence, Continuous Coverage, Site Excellence, Excellence in Writing, Multimedia Excellence, and Audience Engagement.

Journalism students have been keeping track of their awards on a huge banner in Rm. C203. Every time the students won one of the individual badges, they would place “2017” underneath.

The road to success 

Editor-in-Chief, Grace Weaver, was in charge of how the site looked and how it was organized. Within the first three days of the challenge, which opened in October 2016, Lancer Media won the Site Excellence badge. This means that all of the stories on the site had been published in the past two weeks, and the site was organized well with little or no white space at the bottom.

“After I realized that this was one of the requirements for an award, I got really picky about how the site looked. I wanted to make sure that it was up to the standard no matter what,” said Weaver.

The students then went on to win the Story Page Excellence Award. This award had the journalists working hard to make sure that they could lay out their stories in a different form than they the normally would, including side rails, container stories, or long-story format.

For example, editor Brandon Cooper and Summer Etzler wrote opposing stories, about the Pledge of Allegiance. To show the different viewpoints, the students put their stories in a side-by-side format. This allowed for any reader to see the both sides of their argument.

The students then students went on to earn the Audience Engagement badge. Lancer Media had to post on two social media sites every day for a month. This took concentration from all reporters.

Editor, Amanda Anderson, who was in charge of Instagram, came up with a calendar to track her posts on Instagram every day. Editor Kennedi Ambush, who was in charge of Twitter, used an app called Dashboard to schedule tweets every day.

The class then worked to get to the Continuing Coverage Badge, which has three different criteria: three stories have to be posted in two days, two stories have to be posted a week for a month, and three stories have to be posted throughout the school year on one topic.

At the beginning of the school year, Nicole Muller wrote two stories about,  and Amanda Anderson made a video of, the lunch lines burrito bowls.

This fall, the theater department put on three short plays and reporter, Emma Wynkoop, reviewed each one before they debuted.

Throughout the month of February, Weaver and Photo Editor Tory Spruill covered the Mr. Linganore competition. Spruill made each competitor a graphic, and Weaver wrote a short story on each one of them.

During the Mr. Linganore competition, Lancer Media covered the lunchtime competitions in a different way than normal. For each competition, Lancer Media created a video with two interviews and three different perspectives. With three different videos, Lancer Media had covered the aspect of the Multimedia Badge.

One of the hardest badges for Lancer Media to earn was the Excellence in Writing. To win this badge three of Lancer Media’s stories had to be chosen for Best of SNO. During the first semester, two stories were chosen, Grace Gaydosh’s National Adoption Month story and Elizabeth Anderson’s National Novel Writing Month story. After the Women’s March in D.C. editor, Garrett Wiehler wrote a story on his experience there, and that third recognition earned the award.  Since that time, Elizabeth Anderson and Lily Weaver’s story about “Love your Melon” was also chosen.

The Celebration

After Lancer Media won the Distinguished Site Award, they decided to celebrate. With Pi day approaching, Lancer Media held a pie celebration and an open house.

Each student invited a favorite teacher and volunteered to bring a pie to class. During the open house, each student explained to the guest’s something that Lancer Media does during the school year. For example, Lourdes Jack, reporter, showed teachers how Lancer Media’s Youtube worked.  The students had signs near their workstations that said, “My name is ____________.  Ask me about ____________.”

Jack said, “Pi day was a lot of fun because we got to show off what he had been working for all year. I think that the teachers enjoyed themselves and got a feel for how our Journalism class works.”

A week after Lancer Media celebrated winning their award, Principal Nancy Doll presented Lancer Media with their plaque given to Lancer Media from SNO.