Dos Pueblos High School’s student newspaper, The Charger Account, has made the transition to a daily, online-only publication from a monthly print newspaper. For the first time in school history, students, teachers, parents and alumni will be able to access the publication from the comfort of their own homes — any time, day or night.
That’s not the only change in store this school year. Thanks to a new partnership with the online-only Noozhawk, the two publications will collaborate on some content and Noozhawk’s journalists and sales professionals will work with the students as mentors.
Dos Pueblos journalism adviser Bill Woodard is excited about the partnership but he’s even more enthusiastic about the mentorships.
“The thing I’m looking forward to the most is having Noozhawk come in and mentor the students — give them feedback on their writing, editing and photos,” said Woodard. “It’s one thing to hear it from me but it’s another to learn from professional journalists like those at Noozhawk.”
Bill Macfadyen, Noozhawk’s founder and publisher, said he and his staff are looking forward to the opportunity.
“Noozhawk is excited to partner with The Charger Account and to have the chance to work with its student journalists this year,” he said. “The Dos Pueblos High School community has been so supportive of us, and it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to give something back.
“Besides, we’re impressed that the school newspaper has chosen to follow our lead into the online-only future of journalism. What’s not to love about that?”
The Charger Account looks to transform itself into a Dos Pueblos version of Noozhawk, Woodard said. With the field of journalism moving so rapidly into the New Media age, the switch not only will further publicize the school publication but it will also give its student staff more of a feel for the career.
“We hope to transform the class into one that mirrors a newsroom at a daily publication — giving the students a true project-based learning experience,” said Woodard.
The new Web site, thechargeraccount.org, will give students a chance to write and publish more articles, as well as learn what it’s like to work under deadline pressure. Before, when The Charger Account was published monthly as a print newspaper, students would only write one or two articles a month. Now, thanks to the new format’s space and flexibility, the student journalists will have the opportunity to cover more sporting events, concerts and anything else newsworthy happening at the campus at 7266 Alameda Ave. in Goleta.
Going online was a “no-brainer,” according to Woodard, who worked with a handful of students over the summer to implement the new format.
The Charger Account has also taken some of Noozhawk’s most successful marketing strategies and used them to publicize the Web site. Facebook, Twitter and free email subscriptions have all been helpful in spreading the word about the new online format. Students and teachers alike have responded positively.
“I’m excited for The Charger Account to be available to more people and easier to access” said junior Charger Account staff writer Haley Peterson. “I love that we are moving forward with technology.”
Dos Pueblos is the first high school in the Santa Barbara area to complete the transition into the world of online journalism. So far, everything has worked as planned. Student journalists already have published numerous articles and the school community has responded by leaving comments and spreading the word to far-flung alumni.
“In my experience in education we need much more collaboration with the ‘real world,’” Woodard said. “Noozhawk and Mr. Macfadyen, who built his online newspaper from the ground up, are the perfect models of what we are trying to accomplish with The Charger Account. We are extremely excited to be able to work with them.”
Click here for The Charger Account’s Web site. Connect with The Charger Account on Facebook. Follow The Charger Account on Twitter: @ChargerAccount. Click here for a free email subscription to The Charger Account.
— Noozhawk intern Kristen Gowdy is a senior at Dos Pueblos High School and sports editor of The Charger Account. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.