Hard work pays off for newspaper staff

The Voice of the Wildkats named Distinguished Site for 2nd year


photo or infographic by Wildkat Media

BEST OF SNO. The newspaper staff earned the Distinguished Site honors for the second year in a row.

Christmas came early for the newspaper staff. When the Student News Organization announced on Dec. 20 they were named a SNO Distinguished Site months of hard work made their goal a reality.

The newspaper staff was the ninth school in the nation to receive a Distinguished Site title this year. They had to be determined, encouraging and persevering while earning the necessary six badges. 

“It is very difficult to be a distinguished site,” senior Heather Jackson said. “Only a few schools in the nation earn this recognition every year. It takes a lot of determination and a lot of time. You can’t let up or things will fall through the cracks, but getting it made everything worth it.”

There is a requirement of earning six badges in order to receive the distinguished site award. Many of these badges have multi elements required to gain the honor.

“A distinguished site means that we reached the requirements of earning all of our badges,” senior Katherine Lee said. “We have spent the past five months encouraging  our staff to do the work needed to achieve our goal. Very few school newspapers become distinguished sites, so I am proud.”

The newspaper staff was responsible for holding each other accountable to stick to their goal of earning this award in five months.

“The feeling of becoming a distinguished site before Christmas is amazing,” senior Brenan Mansker said. “During the summer, the staff made a goal of accomplishing this task in one semester. To see all our hard work and stress pay off was one of the best feelings in the world.”

The editors had to be patient because SNO continuously critiqued everything they submitted for this award.

“This task is not easy,” Wildkat Media adviser Emily Meachen said. “To be named a Distinguished Site, the newspaper staff had to earn six badges. Each badge is multistep. The SNO website was super picky this year. The editors (Kat, Summer and Heather) set the goal to be a distinguished site before Christmas. There were times when we wanted to give up.” 

The staff was overwhelmed with the amount of assignments they had to complete each week but they decided the ends justifies the means.

“We had to get six different badges: Continuous Coverage, Site Excellence, Story Page Excellence, Excellence in Writing, Multimedia Excellence and Audience Engagement,” senior Stephanie Keele said. “For Continuous Coverage, we had to write 20 stories a week for 4 weeks. This was one of the hardest and most stressful badges to get.

The accomplishment was about more than a plaque and a icon on the website. The staff members made the newspaper better, and that is really the goal of the program.

“It was a lot of work, and I was nervous at first because SNO had changed the criteria from the previous year,” Jackson said. “We were covering a lot more to be able to reach our goal and it ended up making our newspaper better. I’m so proud of everyone and all the work they put in so that we could be a distinguished site for another year in a row.”