It’s a three-peat! Lancer Media earns the SNO Distinguished Site


Natalie Rebetsky

Spring 2018 semester journalism class poses exuding pride and joy.

The Lance has done it again. They have proven their excellence for the third year in a row by winning SNO Distinguished Site. Student Newspapers Online has sponsored The Lance website since 2013. As of April 16, The Lance is one of only 14 websites to be awarded recognition this year.

There are six badges that each site must apply for in order to win the SNO Distinguished Site title: Audience Engagement, Continuous Coverage Badge, Excellence in Writing, Multimedia Excellence, Site Excellence and Story Page Excellence.

The journalism students have been hard at work creating articles, slideshows and videos that can apply to requirements of each badge.

There is one word that describes how The Lance has continuously earned this recognition it is teamwork. The first semester students earned four of the six badges, leaving the MultiMedia Excellence badge and the Continuous Coverage badge for the second semester students.

The biggest constant contributor to The Lance’s success is Mrs. Natalie Rebetsky.

First semester’s Co-Editor-in-Chiefs Hannah Haught, Beau Cameron and Emily Reed submitted the requirements for each badge. They made sure that each event The Lance covered included the advanced journalism guidelines.

The first badge earned was Excellence in Writing. There were five Best of SNO articles that contributed to the success.

Reporter Nick Stephan won the first Best of SNO within The Lance staff this year: “This is IT, the horror triumph of the year“. Editor Kelsey Ward won the second with her story: “Tunneling under Capitol Hill: My adventure interning for Congressman Hastings“. The third article that won was reporter Yesenia Montenegro‘s: “The Seal of Biliteracy: Frederick County plans to recognize language proficiency on diplomas“.

Current Co-Editor-in-Chief Bridget Murphy wrote the most recent two out of the five award-winning articles:  “Unpopular opinion: My love affair with Pandora” and “Give us a break! Seniors beg for a weekend off from homework“.

Audience Engagement Badge was a tricky task for the editors. Lancer Media was required to post on two social media sites every day for a month. Making sure there were enough events to cover and someone to take command of social media was very important. Editor Ward took lead of this task and was controlling the Twitter and Instagram accounts for Lancer Media.

Ward created a chart in order to track followers on each social media account to make sure there were gains, not losses, in engagement.

Haught said, “The hardest part of earning the badges was keeping up with everything, making sure the site was looking good, having the stories meet the criteria and just trying to multitask with personal work as well.”

Co-Editor-in-Chief Beau Cameron submitted for the fourth badge just before the change in the semester.  Everyone from reporters to editors has an important role. There is no man left behind. Lancer Media celebrates as a team, too.  It is not uncommon to see the staff enjoying cupcakes to mark incremental accomplishments.

Second semester Co-Editor-in-Chiefs Bridget Murphy and Devin Barge were in charge of submitting the last two badges.

The Continuous Coverage badge was the last badge The Lance submitted for, because it took the most effort.

With three sections in this submission, it was nonstop work for The Lance staff. The three sections include: Developing Coverage, Quick Coverage and Sustained Coverage.

Quick Coverage challenged The Lance staff because it requires three related articles published within two days of an event that occurs in the community. The Lance covered the annual Mr. Linganore contest to be able to submit for the badge.

Bridget Murphy
Mrs. Rebetsky poses in front of a gift from a past editor.

The Multimedia Excellence badge calls for three videos and three slideshows published on the news site. There are requirements for each video, and Editor Lilly Player worked through the night and weekend of Mr. LHS to make sure she had several videos for the site.

Player created an overall coverage of Mr. Linganore XXL which included interviews, voice overs and subtitles. She also created a smaller video which covered the lunchtime contest of cake decorating.  Ward covered the other lunchtime contests.  Mason Eddins and other editors and reporters also made videos.

Reporter Catie Jo Tansey took lead on one of the three slideshows that was also required for the badge.

Lancer Media is known for its celebrations at every level it reaches. This year, for the celebration, Co-Editor-in-Chief Devin Barge has collected donations in order to provide Chick-Fil-A for the class. Both first semester and second semester students will be celebrating, as they have all worked for this recognition.

Of course, the biggest constant contributor to The Lance’s success is Mrs. Natalie Rebetsky. Working as the only journalism teacher for the past 30 years, she has created generations of journalists and leaders. Without her signature slogan, “No Happiness” (which she says with a smile), and constant encouragement, the honor would not be achievable.  

She is currently nominated for Teacher of the Year 2018, The Lance is hoping she is recognized yet again for her stellar work. (Rebetsky was awarded Agnes Meyer Teacher of the Year Award from the Washington Post 2006.)

Thank you to everyone who has supported The Lance. Keep checking in and stay up-to-date with the latest in our Linganore community.  Lancer Media is not done!  The team is working on a Senior Countdown and Senior Destinations.