Thursday, October 08, 2009

Paperless High School Newspapers!

The kids are alright.

They get it. They fundamentally understand this paperless thing. That's not to say they understand what to do with it any more than any of us do. But, for the most part, if you are under the age of 18, you pretty much 'get' the paperless thing.

We're talking about high schools full of kids who've never bought a CD, let alone an LP or cassette. We're talking about kids who get their movies, games, and entertainment via a browser. We're talking about kids who have no idea what a card catalog is and for whom the 'address' of a publication naturally implies its url.

So, why would we think they'd have any problem going online when it comes to that most storied of high school publications: the student newspaper?

Our kids here at school have just gone to an online edition. And immediately, the buzz around here has been about the RSS feed, subscriptions beyond the immediate school community, and the future of editorial and opinion blogs.

This is all good stuff. High schoolers are online; so why shouldn't high school life be online? For so long we heard nothing but fretful trepidation when it came to student behavior online (as though ignoring it would make it go away). Now, students are creating content and publishing and building audiences on their own terms on the Web.

And that's the way it should be.

Especially with a student newspaper. Because you don't join the newspaper to learn about newspapers; you join the newspaper to make newspapers (the learning is inherent in the doing).

Furthermore, now that the paper is online, it's the kids themselves who are going to prove their worth. They are going to be the ones who demonstrate to all of us what it means to be a digital citizen. No one has to mediate for them; no one has to tell us what kids think.

They are doing it themselves.

They get it.

And in an age when the pro newspapers are still trying to figure out what's going on, it's great to see kids who already get it.


  1. I just clicked over to the JC Patriot. What a sharp-looking and well-written newspaper you've got there.

    I am thinking about helping out with my school's newspaper and would like to take it online as well. I am curious, what platform are you using for the site? WP, Blogger? Do you know of any other examples of high school newspapers online. Thanks in advance.

  2. Our student written school newspaper went paperless this fall. They do get it and they are doing a great job!

  3. Lucky You!!

    Over here, we're still struggling to explain to those with a bit of power that going online does not mean the demise of the teaching profession.
    Everymorning, I come to my class extra early, I turn my computer on and I read your posts for inspiration.

    big thank you

  4. Our student news is online also. I hesitate to call it a newsPAPER because there is no paper edition. We get out new stories 3 times a week and if have fledgling broadcast arm. Here is the url

  5. Great, positive comments. I have a new student this year to the seven student journalism class. Her school had gone on line with it's newspaper in the last couple of years. She said than hardly any of the kids read it. How are you tracking your readership?

  6. We just took our newspaper online last year. We went through a couple different free Wordpress templates before I decided to pay $80 for a custom URL and a install. We are starting to hit our stride publishing wise, now we have to concentrate on driving traffic to the site.

  7. Just found this site, thanks! I started teaching journalism this year in California, and we launched a 100% online "paper" two weeks ago.

    I decided to use joomla open source content management system. It was a bear to learn, i.e. self-teach, but I'm very happy with the result.

    I also posted up a video about our program titled "We don't use paper for this." You can find it at

    I have a blog at

    Can't wait to dig into this site. Oh, and I'm insanely jealous of the red dots on your ClustrMap hit counter! We have one on the news site and I get so excited every time another red dot shows up. Yours is amazing!

  8. Very nice - easy to follow, simple, and working. Thanks for the knowledge!
    Pay per click


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