SNO Sites Customers Enter the Portal Wed, 10 Jun 2020 14:37:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 SNO recognizes 63 student publications as SNO Distinguished Sites for 2019-2020 Wed, 10 Jun 2020 14:31:42 +0000 Over the past eight months, more publications participated in and earned SNO Distinguished Sites status than ever before in the program’s seventh year.

SNO recognized 63 student publications as distinguished sites, compared to 49 last year, and awarded 264 publications with at least one badge, up from 219.

And while meeting the requirements to obtain each of the six badges is already challenging enough, a handful of these first-time winners faced an additional obstacle: Locking down the remaining badges while in a literal lockdown — working remotely due to COVID-19.

Take The Boiling Point, at Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles, as an example.

Heading into the year, as in years past, the Distinguished Site badges weren’t really on the radar of the staff. However, due to the fervor and proactivity of a few enthusiastic staff members, that quickly changed. By March, they had only the Multimedia badge to go.

Then came COVID-19, distance learning, and some serious contemplation from staff members on how to be an effective newspaper while working remotely.

“We realized that something we missed severely was that feeling of camaraderie and being in a room with one another,” said Jacob Joseph Lefkowitz Brooks, the editor-in-chief of The Boiling Point. “We had lots of conversations about this, but we ended up coming to the decision that we needed to do as many multi-member projects as possible, because really, that collaborative environment is what we’ve always found to be most effective when working on our paper.”

Through the creation of an “Anti-Inertia Task Force,” a multitude of group chats, and some strategic restructuring, staff members quickly adopted an all-hands on deck approach, allowing them to push out an abundance of COVID-19 coverage including a new podcast series that not only earned them Distinguished Site status, but garnered attention from a local television news station as well.

In the case of The Boiling Point, COVID-19 turned out to be just the push they needed to dial up innovation and find new ways to connect with their readers.

“It’s a little bittersweet because nobody wants this situation at all, but I’m really proud of the students that they took a challenge and made something significant for our readers and our viewers and our listeners,” said Joelle Keene, faculty adviser of The Boiling Point. “They conveyed news and information that needed to be conveyed, they did it at their normal level of expertise and intelligence, but they also went into new media that they honestly may not have done this year if not for COVID.”

For Joseph Lefkowitz Brooks, finally becoming a Distinguished Site in the midst of the pandemic represents a testament to the hard work of everyone involved in the publication.

“I think it worked out far better than I could have imagined, and I think that we will always have this actual achievement to remember all of the hard work that we did this year and especially in these times of isolation,” he said.

The multimedia badge also proved to be tricky for the staff of Granite Bay Today, at Granite Bay High School in Granite Bay, Calif. Especially after coming up only a few podcasts short of becoming a Distinguished Site last year, they were dead set on not letting that happen again.

“We managed to get at least one podcast in before the end of the fall term, and it was like ‘Oh my gosh, we can do this,’” said Bella Khor, senior editor on Granite Bay Today. “Then the pandemic happened, but I was like we can still do this. It will be different, but we can still do it.”

In the words of Karl Grubaugh, faculty adviser of Granite Bay Today, what transpired next was a “weird, pandemic, COVID, do it from your bedroom, do it from your house situation.” Yet, by means of the Remind App, Zoom meetings, Google Drive and a meticulous organizational system, the staff of Granite Bay Today ultimately came out successful.

“It was definitely a learning experience working from home,” said Mareesa Islam, assistant editor on Granite Bay Today. “We did separate Zoom calls for interviews and then we had to mash it all together into one podcast. It was a new experience for us, but it was really fun to get to do that and we got it done.”

While the Granite Bay Today staff is finally walking away with some SNO Distinguished Site hardware this year, from Grubaugh’s perspective, it’s about more than just winning an award for an award’s sake.

“We’re all about trying to do good journalism, and what I’m appreciative of is that that plaque represents the fact that these guys have gotten better and better at taking what we do and making it work in a web context,” Grubaugh said. “I’m the old fart who you’re going to have to pry a hard print copy from my cold, dead fingers. That’s how I roll. But that’s not how the world rolls, so the fact that this sort of framework exists and these guys have jumped into it and gone for it has been great.”

And because COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate based on borders, across the pond, staff members of The Standard, at The American School in London, faced additional challenges as well.

At the beginning of the year, Louisa Avery joined The Standard as the publication’s new faculty adviser. After using SNO at previous schools over the past 10 years, she not only encouraged the staff to migrate their existing website over to SNO in the fall, she also introduced them to the Distinguished Site badges shortly after.

“I’ve always liked the badges because it gives the kids a checklist of something to look at and focus on,” Avery said. “I really think that just that structure of knowing that this is what your site needs to succeed, that they really took that on and made it happen.”

While Jonathan Novak, deputy editor-in-chief of The Standard, was hesitant towards the badges at first, by the end of the first semester they already had three under their belt. In fact, they were two weeks into posting towards the Continuous Coverage badge when COVID-19 forced their school to shut its doors.

Determined to persevere despite the circumstances, The Standard staff adapted to the pandemic quickly. Through a myriad of text messages, FaceTime calls and Zoom meetings, staff members took advantage of the opportunity to cover new Coronavirus-related content, causing their website analytics to skyrocket in the process.

“It was really encouraging to see that yes, they were working towards the badges, but their audience was really engaging with the material,” Avery said. “We could see how many views each story was getting and that motivated them to keep going.”

While the plaque they’ll be receiving is an added bonus, Novak said the Distinguished Site title really speaks to the planning, organization and commitment of staff members throughout the year towards transforming the website.

“We had always considered print to be our strong suit as a publication, and when we achieved the badges it really felt like now the website was pulling its weight properly,” Novak said. “I really think that our website would not be what it is today if we didn’t have that as a way to structure our growth.”

The folks at NSPA seemed to agree. The Standard placed second in the Best of Show small high school website category in April, up from not placing at all in November?— a huge jump over a span of only five months.

Congratulations to all of the winners for the 2019-2020 academic year. This year’s complete list of SNO Distinguished Sites:

Scot Scoop News (Carlmont High School, Belmont, Calif.); El Estoque (Monta Vista High School, Cupertino, Calif.); Granite Bay Today (Granite Bay High School, Granite Bay, Calif.); Portola Pilot (Portola High School, Irvine, Calif.); The Boiling Point (Shalhevet High School, Los Angeles, Calif.); El Cid (Cathedral Catholic High School, San Diego, Calif.); Harker Aquila (The Harker Upper School, San Jose, Calif.); LHS Epic (Lynbrook High School, San Jose, Calif.); The Wildcat Tribune (Dougherty Valley High School, San Ramon, Calif.); The Paw Print (Woodside High School, Woodside, Calif.); Inklings News (Staples High School, Westport, Conn.); CavsConnect (Coral Gables Senior High School, Coral Gables, Fla.); The Stampede (Wiregrass Ranch High School, Wesley Chapel, Fla.); The Southerner (Henry W. Grady High School, Atlanta, Ga.); The Prowler (Starr’s Mill High School, Fayetteville, Ga.); Metea Media ?(Metea Valley High School, Aurora, Ill.); The Blueprint (Downers Grove South High School, Downers Grove, Ill.); Spartan Shield (Pleasant Valley High School, Bettendorf, Iowa); West Side Story (Iowa City West High School, Iowa City, Iowa); PLD Lamplighter (Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, Lexington, Ky.); The Black & White (Walt Whitman High School, Bethesda, Md.); The Lance (Linganore High School, Frederick, Md.); The Green Wave Gazette (Abington High School, Abington, Mass.); The Lantern (Cannon Falls High School, Cannon Falls, Minn.); OHS Magnet (Owatonna High School, Owatonna, Minn.); Knight Errant (Benilde-St. Margaret’s School, St. Louis Park, Minn.); The Echo (St. Louis Park High School, St. Louis Park, Minn.); The Rubicon (St. Paul Academy and Summit School, St. Paul, Minn.); The Vision (The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, Columbus, Miss.); Pathfinder (Parkway West High School, Ballwin, Mo.); The Messenger (Marquette High School, Chesterfield, Mo.); The Kirkwood Call (Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Mo.); LHS Today (Wentzville Liberty High School, Lake St. Louis, Mo.); FHN Today (Francis Howell North High School, St. Charles, Mo.); The Mirror (De Smet Jesuit High School, St. Louis, Mo.); The Wildcat Roar (Westminster Christian Academy, Town and Country, Mo.); The Lancer Feed (Lafayette High School, Wildwood, Mo.); The Catalyst (Millard West High School, Omaha, Neb.); Lancer Spirit Online (Londonderry High School, Londonderry, NH); Eastside Online (Cherry Hill High School East, Cherry Hill, NJ); Maroon (Scarsdale High School, Scarsdale, NY); The Leaf (Sycamore High School, Cincinnati, Ohio); WLHS Now (West Linn High School, West Linn, Ore.); The BA Blueprint (Bellwood-Antis High School, Bellwood, Pa.); The Purbalite (Baldwin High School, Pittsburgh, Pa.); Mountaineer (Stroudsburg High School, Stroudsburg, Pa.); Eagle Eye News (Tyrone Area High School, Tyrone, Pa.); The Uproar (North Allegheny Senior High School, Wexford, Pa.); The Central Digest (Chattanooga Central High School, Harrison, Tenn.); The Dispatch Online (James Bowie High School, Austin, Texas); The Shield (McCallum High School, Austin, Texas); Vandegrift Voice (Vandegrift High School, Austin, Texas); Westwood Horizon (Westwood High School, Austin, Texas); The Wolfpack (Cedar Park High School, Cedar Park, Texas); Coppell Student Media (Coppell High School, Coppell, Texas); The Marquee (Marcus High School, Flower Mound, Texas); Wingspan (Liberty High School, Frisco, Texas); The Review (St. John’s School, Houston, Texas); Cain Live (Klein Cain High School, Klein, Texas); The Red Ledger (Lovejoy High School, Lucas, Texas); The Rider Online (Legacy High School, Mansfield, Texas); Eagle Nation Online (Prosper High School, Prosper, Texas), The Standard (The American School in London, London, United Kingdom).

The SNO Report: Tasks to end the school year Wed, 27 May 2020 14:34:00 +0000 As you wrap up another school year, consider this straightforward list of tasks to do before putting your website to bed for the summer.

  • Turn your site’s departing staff members into subscriber users. Doing this retains all the great content those students produced this year but strips away their access to the backend of the website.
  • Run any available updates. Check to make sure your site is running the latest version of WordPress and your plugins are up-to-date to protect the site over the summer and give you fewer updates to run when you get back.
  • Save a Snapshot of your site. It can’t hurt to save a Design Snapshot of the design of your site that you’re ending the year with, especially if you’re planning on testing out some design changes over the summer.
  • Departing adviser? Tell us. We’d love to welcome the new adviser to the SNO community in proper fashion. So if you’re leaving the job, send an owl.
  • Put us to work. Summertime is the best time to order a SNO Site Review or SNO Site Overhaul. We’ll make it a summer project, and you’ll have a newly refurbished site or detailed written analysis ready to review when you get back.
  • Maybe think about a training. Our trainers conduct personalized hour-long virtual sessions for advisers, students, students and advisers, advisers and their pets — whatever. Think about when you want your incoming staff trained. Order a training session and schedule it whenever it makes sense, before the end of the year, during summer downtime or hold onto it until the fall.
  • Consider our virtual learning opportunities. The SNO Academy offers virtual classes on a wide variety of journalism-related topics for students and teachers. Our Staff Bootcamps are like retreats for you and your staff to pair up with one of our teachers for a fully personalized learning opportunity.

As always, we want to express our sincere appreciation for letting us build and support your websites this year. We hope you have a safe and enjoyable break.

The SNO Report: Best of SNO Superlatives Wed, 20 May 2020 14:35:28 +0000 We’ve almost made it through another school year, and with that, another record-breaking nine months of Best of SNO submissions. Don’t believe us? Check out these stats.

As of mid-May, Best of SNO had…

  • More than 20,000 stories submitted to it, since September
  • Published approximately 3,500 pieces (an overall publication rate of 18%)
  • 477 participating schools, worldwide
  • 317 schools published at least once

While the end of this particular school year has been anything but normal, we’re clinging on to any sense of normalcy we can by handing out Best of SNO superlatives. So without further ado, here’s a sampling of some of our favorites:

Best (Aptly Named) Investigative Reporting
Digging Up Dirt, by Lillian Metzmeier, John Woodhouse, and Sky Carrol, On the Record Magazine at duPont Manual High School

Best Assignment Desk Stories
From the assignment desk prompts we gave you this year, Vaping, Impeachment, and Student Entrepreneurship, special mentions go to:

Best Bilingual Reporting
Latin-o? -a? -que?, by Kimberly Medina and Brisayd Muniz, Paschal High School

Best of Colleges

Best Community-Based Reporting
“Welcome to Portland”: A Look Into the Lives of Three of Portland’s Homeless, by Maddie Khaw and Carlie Weigel, La Salle Catholic Preparatory High School

Best Continuous COVID-19 Coverage
Props to the staff of The Shield at McCallum High School for some of the most creative Coronavirus coverage angles we’ve read this year:

Best Female Empowerment Story
Troop Four: A look inside one of the first all-girl Scout troops, by Holly Adams, Walt Whitman High School

Most Inclusive Reporting
Shedding Light on Special Education, by Kaitlyn Piggott, Troy High School

Best Coverage Involving a Speedo
Wacky hall passes keep students on their toes, by Julia Golovey, Granite Bay High School

Best Opinion Writing
How Do You Choose to Remember Kobe Bryant?, by Amanda Brauchler, Rock Canyon High School

Best Photo Essay
Final Countdown: Friday Night, by Meg Rees, North Allegheny Senior High School

Best Photo Illustrations
Unsustainable, by Annabel Hendrickson, Natalie Katz, and Marta Leira, Iowa City West High School

Best Review
American Dirt Lacks the True Migrant Experience, by Karen Portillo, Santaluces High School

Best Sports Story
Nine years in the making, senior gets his one shining moment, by Aaron Boehmer and Kirthi Gummadi, Liberty High School

Best Teachers Are People Too Story
San Ramon housing crisis prices teachers out, by Sraavya Sambara, Vivian Kuang, Sanjana Ranganathan, Michael Han, and Sneha Cheenath, Dougherty Valley High School

Best Video Feature
Chinatown cookie company delivers good fortune for 58 years and counting, by Kiana George, Carlmont High School

Best “Yang Gang” Coverage
Politics meets streetwear as presidential candidate Andrew Yang comes to Fairfax, by Sam Rubanowitz, Shalhevet High School

Most-Read Story
A Leader in Stars and Stripes, by Ianne Salvosa, Wentzville Liberty High School (2,961 views since February)

And there’s more where that came from. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading it all as much as we have.

Bippity boppity boo: this week on Fresh Powder Thu, 14 May 2020 14:37:06 +0000 Bippity boppity boo.

Let’s talk about Fiona Apple. The musician’s latest album, “Fetch the Bolt Cutters,” was awarded a perfect score by Pitchfork, the first new album in a decade to earn that level of acclaim from the publication and one of only more than 50 since the site was started by a Minneapolis teenager in the 1990s. The Ringer: The History and Influence of the Pitchfork 10.0: “Pitchfork, the most vital and polarizing rock-critic publication of its era, itself dates back to the mid-’90s, and has mutated a solid half-dozen times at least, from one-man online zine to multimillion-dollar Condé Nast publication, from disruptor to standard-bearer, its base of operations shifting from Minnesota to Chicago to its current NYC offices in One World Trade Center. But that 10.0 scale—which at the high end carries all the historical weight of five stars in Rolling Stone or five mics in The Source—remains one of the site’s signature flourishes, with its maddening and theoretically precise approach to decimal places, such that an ocean of feeling separates an 8.1 from an 8.9. The last album to earn a quote-unquote perfect 10.0 upon initial release was Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, reviewed by longtime features editor Ryan Dombal in 2010, and praised as “a blast of surreal pop excess that few artists are capable of creating, or even willing to attempt.” The nearly 10-year drought that followed gives you some sense of the momentousness of this occasion, and how bizarre and vexing and fascinating this pantheon—which now bonds Apple to the likes of Radiohead, Wilco, …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Will Oldham, and a few luminaries from the late-’90s Minneapolis rock scene—has become.” (I, for one, have not listened to “Fetch the Bolt Cutters.” Daily Mix 5 has been 10.0.)

… Longreads: What Happens If I Don’t Like Fiona Apple? “The song I momentarily hated the most on the album, for the opening repetition of its title (‘Ladies,’ sixteen times!), is also the one I liked the most. Despite the clunky lyrics — ‘ruminations on the looming effect and the parallax view’ — some subterranean motor seems to power this track through the history of music, from folk to rap to whatever, sailing between genres like there’s nothing to it. When people talk of genius, when Pitchfork gives the album 10 stars, I hear a glimpse of that here. That’s the tension. If I just thought everyone had bad taste, or was dumb, I wouldn’t be tortured by disliking Fetch the Bolt Cutters. My lack of connection to it suggested I was missing some substantial sliver of intellect, which is something I can’t abide as someone who never really feels smart enough.”

… Speaking of industry oddities, Taylor Swift is sharing her City of Lover concert, performed live in September in Paris, with ABC. It airs at 9 p.m. CST Sunday.


… What to Watch With Your Graduate: “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020,” former President Barack Obama’s live, one-hour commencement speech featuring a number of special guests, will air Saturday on all major networks. (ABC News)

… What to Watch on the Web: ‘Community’ Cast — Including Donald Glover — to Reunite for Virtual Table Read (Variety)


Have you checked on your local newspaper’s sports staff lately? The Washington Post’s Ben Strauss on a profession on the brink: “Sports journalism, once a mainstay of daily newspapers and local TV news across the country, was already teetering from the upheavals of the digital era. But it has been ravaged by the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has wiped out sports schedules and media advertising revenue virtually simultaneously. Without live games for the foreseeable future, the grim new reality has forced many in sports journalism to confront difficult questions about what their storied profession will look like even when they do resume — from what kind of budgets they’ll have to work with to what kind of access they’ll have to coaches and players.”


You know what I always say… When there’s an opportunity to gush about Florence Pugh, gush away. This month’s Elle Magazine UK cover story: “Have You Met Florence Pugh?”

… Specifically, have you seen her cook?

The SNO Report: Learn about the overhauled Widgets interface Wed, 13 May 2020 14:07:20 +0000

Today, we’re releasing a FLEX theme update to all sites that includes immediate front-end redesigns of some widgets and a total rebuild to the Widget Control Panel editing interface.

Let’s talk about it.


The new editing and customization interface on the Widget Control Panel is designed to be easier to work with and make it easier to find options. It’s also been built to work seamlessly within WordPress’s Customize Live screen, which wasn’t the case in the past.

The Widget Control Panel may look mostly unchanged initially (but for some renamed widgets and a reorganized widgets list), but now when you click to edit a widget, you’ll see the new full-screen editing view. The new view removes distractions and presents your editing options in a clearer, easier to navigate space.

If you’re not getting the new view right away, try doing a hard refresh of your web browser or clear your cache. That should do the trick.

What’s changing immediately?

We’ve completely redesigned a few widgets in particular that hadn’t been touched for years. If you’re currently using any SNO sports (scores, schedules, standings), Trending Stories or Staff Profile widgets, you’ll notice these major changes right away.

Our sports widgets have taken on the biggest changes of the three and now can be customized with far more options than ever before.

Perhaps the best improvement to the SNO sports, Trending Stories and Staff Profile widgets is that they now can display content tiles side by side to maximize the space in wider areas. Better yet, they’ll automatically restructure into those column grids if you move any of them into the Wide or Full Width widget areas.

What might I notice later on?

Two widgets are being retired: SNO’s Video Category Display widget and the Display Stories by Tag widget. Though these widgets won’t be completely removed from your site until May 2021, they can no longer be edited. So you may enjoy them as they are, but we’d recommend you start replacing them before they just disappear.

They can be replaced with the SNO Story List widget (formerly SNO Category Display). The Story List widget incorporates the functionality of both deprecated ones. You can choose to display stories by tag (or still by category) and can display videos in place of Featured Images.

Tell me more about the Story List widget.

The SNO Story List widget is your new go-to as the SNO Category Display widget was. All we’ve done is rename it and give it a ton of awesome additional customization options.

Those category widgets that currently make up the majority of your homepage will not change today in a way that demands your attention or concern. Only after you edit them for the first time, after today’s update, and save their settings will it start displaying any differently on your website.

Given how important this widget is, it has had the largest overhaul. You can display stories horizontally in wide and full width areas in 1-5 columns and create dual format display areas. Photo dimensions will all be maintained in a uniform style within a widget, and you can set them to be horizontal, square or vertical.

Anything else?

Several widgets (Story List, Story Grid, Story Carousel) have nearly 100 different customization options to them. Many of those options will be hidden automatically, but each has an option to Show/Hide Advanced Options, enabling you to simplify or intensify your designing experience.

The default settings for each widget have been designed to look good automatically. By that we mean you can just drag and drop a new widget anywhere, set the category, and the widget will intuitively format itself to look nice in the allotted space.

You may also notice a simplification in the SNO Embed Code widget. Now, rather than tracking down a full iFrame embed code for social media, videos and audio, all you’ll need is the URL. Paste that in there and the widget will automatically display your Twitter feed, Spotify playlist, YouTube video or whatever else to a nice fit.

What if I have questions?

We understand you’ll probably have questions after this, no matter if it’s later today or three months from now when your next editor is sitting down for a site redesign. Don’t hesitate to ask us anything. Ask away. Or, catch one of our webinars today and tomorrow when we’ll be demoing the changes from this update.

The SNO Report: Communicating within FLOW Wed, 06 May 2020 19:44:22 +0000 For FLOW to function at its best, communication is everything. That’s why it’s so important to create individual user accounts for your students on FLOW; that way, everyone is interconnected and easy to reach in the same space, and it ideally keeps everyone engaged knowing they each have a hand in the process.

So, in what ways is FLOW built to create seamless communication?

  1. Deadline Defaults and Default Checklists help you clearly communicate certain expectations. When is the rough draft of a story due? Do photographers need to upload at least three images for each of their assignments? Setting these defaults builds them automatically into new assignments so that when a student clicks on it, the deadlines and checklists of expectations are right there, clear as a blue sky.
  2. Notes and Messaging within an assignment are ways of communicating with the students involved in each assignment. Click on the talking bubble icon in an assignment window, send a message and everyone attached to that story will get a notification. Notes don’t generate notifications, but they’re clearly displayed in a fixed box on the right side of the overlay window.
  3. Email Notifications can be turned on and off for each user in their account settings. You can do whatever you want, but it’s better when they’re turned on — it’s one more way to set up automatic notifications when someone’s attention is needed on an assignment.
  4. The FLOW App is a free companion product to your desktop experience and another way of extending your reach further. As long as your students have downloaded the app, logged in and turned app notifications on, their phone will buzz or ping, or both, when their attention is needed on an assignment or when someone sends them a message.
  5. On the desktop, anyone who’s currently logged in should pay attention to their notifications in the top right corner of the dashboard. The mail icon will show them when they have a message. The bell icon will show them when they’ve been assigned something or had an assignment submitted to them.
  6. The Message Board feature is relatively new. It can be found by the mail icon that’s in the blue toolbar on the left side of the desktop dashboard, and it looks a lot like Slack. There, users can create Direct Messages with other users and Channels for larger group communication, like a channel for your editors. Advisers, or admins of the account, can see everything that’s going on in the channels and DMs on the message board.

That’s a lot of ways to communicate, we know. But, especially in these times, having one place where everyone’s able to stay connected is so important.

The times they are a-changin’: this week on Fresh Powder Thu, 30 Apr 2020 19:41:21 +0000 The times they are a-changin’.


Let’s talk about sports, the virtual kind. Video game simulations are as close as sports fans and professional athletes can get to the real thing right now, and all indications are that everybody is loving it. I mean, everybody. Football beat writers are picking up the latest version of MLB The Show at Target and realizing that baseball is kinda, sorta, awesome. Anthony Fenech, the Tigers beat writer for the Detroit Free Press, is hosting daily live streams of Tigers games on MLB The Show (CPU vs. CPU, but from their exact 2020 schedule). Fans tuning in ask him questions, comment on the simulation itself, or quietly enjoy the virtual sunny day. (As of Wednesday, the Tigers were 11-18 on the season.) The MLB is doing this, too: Here’s virtual Twins-Cardinals from April 23, a matchup on that date that wouldn’t have matched real life (way to shatter the illusion). MLB Network has even started showing live online games between pros with a play-by-play person calling it. (It follows a trend — ESPN did it with the NBA — but it’s not good. I’ll spare you a link.)

. . . The BBC is airing at least three digital recreations of sporting events: Formula One racing, Premier League soccer, and the fourth and fifth stages of a cycling race across the Schallenberg mountain in which “the cyclists are riding their real bikes on turbo trainers, which mimic the resistance of a hill climb.” The Guardian: “The crossover with real sports is crucial for engaging audiences, says Gallop. With FIFA, for instance, ‘you’re seeing household names, in their own homes. You’re seeing their real competitive instincts – they’re dedicated to winning – and you’re seeing that tribal element of football. I found myself strangely invested in watching Moussa Sissoko’s performance in the ePremier League, because I’m a (Tottenham) Spurs fan. I was absolutely gutted when he was out of the running.’”

. . . Even tennis is in on it. The ATP and WTA setup a virtual Madrid Open for a collection of the best players in the world, “where they will swap their rackets for games consoles.” (Honest question: How many game consoles did they have to ship?) After round robin play, the tournament was into the semifinals Thursday. Here’s where you can watch the live feed, and here’s journalism taking it seriously.


What to Watch Tonight: ‘Parks And Recreation’ Returns To NBC As Cast Reunites For Benefit Special Amid Pandemic. (Deadline) “The story comes from the events of the day – Pawnee’s most dedicated civil servant, Leslie Knope, is determined to stay connected to her friends in a time of social distancing.”

. . . Price Watch: The May Queen Dress from “Midsommar.” A24 is raising money for charity by auctioning off props, costumes and set pieces from their films. Dani’s dress is up to $30,000 after four bids. (The high bidder might be Ariana Grande.)


When’s the last time you thought about Marie Kondo? Early 2019? In the last year, Kondo released a new book about tidying your workplace, sold a majority stake in her company and, finally, agreed to do another Netflix show. A profile in Fast Company: “As she goes after the corporate world, Kondo appears to be wrestling with the question of what kind of work makes her happy. For several years, it seemed like she was following the playbook of other celebrity entrepreneurs. But now she has clearly decided to throw that strategy out the window. Apparently, it no longer sparked joy. Perhaps it never did.”


The L.A.-centric new season of “Top Chef” premiered four days after the city instituted social distancing measures. Watching the show now stirs up a complicated mix of emotions, writes The Ringer’s Alison Herman: “Top Chef has always managed to make the unattainable seem accessible, with editing and performances that make you feel like you have a seat at the judges’ table. But through no fault of its own, it can’t pull off the same magic trick for an entire set of rituals. A supply run to the Santa Monica Farmers Market happened to coincide with the week during which many markets in Los Angeles, including my local one, were closed out of concern for social distancing. … The very knowledge that makes Top Chef such a convincing representation of eating in America also makes it a painful reminder of what’s on hold, and what’s at risk.”


“On Easter Sunday, while on her afternoon stroll, the Irish novelist Denise Deegan realized she still had not yet called her mother. ‘Hello,’ she said cheerily into her phone. ‘Hello, a man on the street replied. Looking at the man’s face, she realized the voice belonged to the actor Matt Damon.” (Come on, Matt…) The New York Times: Where in the world is Matt Damon?

The SNO Report: Customize your Source App homepage Wed, 29 Apr 2020 19:43:02 +0000 The GIF on the right demonstrates our latest update to The Source app, an effort to give you more options to personalize the way your publication looks when your subscribers open it up.

First, let’s remember how it used to work.

When a subscriber opened your publication on the app, the “Home” screen they found was a story feed from the first category in your Mobile App Menu. For many, it was News — commonly the first category in those menus. Others took control over the automation in the only way they could — moving a category to the top of the menu when its stories were what they wanted people to see first. LHS Today (pictured) had done this with COVID-19 coverage. Smart.

Our latest update improves your control over which categories (note: categories, plural) show up on the home screen, making it all much more seamless.

  • By default, your home screen will now show the five most recent stories from each of the first three categories in your Mobile App Menu.
  • Or, you take control. In “Source App Options” on your site’s dashboard, scroll down to “Home Page Options” and select any three categories to display on the homepage and the order they should be in. (Important: The options listed are based on the categories in your Mobile App Menu. So, got a new category? Remember to add it to your Mobile App Menu.)

You also have the option of setting a List Style for the home screen, which can be different or the same as your Recent and category feeds on the app.

You can see all of this demonstrated in the GIF at the top of this email.

  • Entertainment, Opinion and Sports categories are displayed on the home screen in the “Small Thumbnail” list style.
  • When navigating to the News category (or any others), the list style changes to the “Alternating Small & Large” thumbnail view.

If you prefer the old way, turn on the Legacy Home Screen. Our developers are always looking for ways to help you further personalize your corner of the app. We hope this helps make it possible.

Hendrix played this guitar: this week on Fresh Powder Thu, 23 Apr 2020 15:08:29 +0000 Hendrix played this guitar.


If you’re going to be watching the NFL Draft tonight, you may recall that, at one time, it was expected to look like something vastly different than it ever had been before, but not in the way it’s turning out. Now, it will be a completely virtual experience. That it’s carrying on in spite of everything, though, is significant. The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis: How the NFL Draft Turned Into the Quarantine Super Bowl. “The defiant normalcy of the draft during a worldwide pandemic is weird. Maybe more than weird. Here’s one way to think about it: After the coronavirus inflicted economic hell on writers from Sports Illustrated and SB Nation, this year’s draft will function as a sports media stimulus package. You don’t need to think the NFL is a cuddly corporate force, or think most draft coverage is terribly important. But if a debate about Tua Tagovailoa’s hip keeps a few people employed, it’s probably worth having.”

. . . Will the format change be the cause of hilarious technical difficulties? This will be the reported setup for Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace tonight.



“Now that her students are stuck at home, they seem hungry for connection. But such moments are scarce in online school. Saying ‘hello’ in the comments on Google Classroom isn’t the same as finding a minute to talk with the quiet kid who shows up early after lunch. Carried on at a distance, the relationships all seem so fragile.” Samantha Elkaim is a high school English teacher in lower Manhattan. She knows she can’t replicate a classroom. She just wants her students to keep talking. (New York Magazine)



“How do you sum up something that’s so huge?” asks Alexei Hay. “One of the only answers is the emptiness, the thing that speaks to whatever everybody’s going through. The absence is more telling than taking a picture of anybody.” New York: Portrait of an empty city. “These are middle-of-the-night photos shot in broad daylight, snow-day pictures without the snow.”

. . . The photographer at my wedding, Jay Grabiec, is a senior airman embedded with the Illinois Air National Guard in Chicago, documenting FEMA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. His recent work: Images from the floor of an Alternate Care Facility in the making.


Meet Room Rater, a Twitter account launched this month that rates the rooms in the background of Skype, Zoom and other video calls.

Congratulations to SNO’s Pacemaker and Gold Crown winners! Wed, 22 Apr 2020 15:10:47 +0000 In the last week, the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) and Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) announced their annual award winners. We are pleased to congratulate the 14 Online Pacemakers and 26 Gold Crown winners that are part of the SNO community.

The winning sites are listed alphabetically below, including their award(s) received in parenthesis:

  • Coppell Student Media, Coppell High School, Coppell, Texas (NSPA, CSPA)
  • Echo, St. Louis Park High School, St. Louis Park, Minn. (NSPA)
  • Fenton InPrint, Fenton High School, Fenton, Mich. (CSPA)
  • FHN Today, Francis Howell North High School, Saint Charles, Mo. (CSPA)
  • Granite Bay Today, Granite Bay High School, Granite Bay, Calif. (CSPA)
  • Harker Aquila, The Harker School, San Jose, Calif. (CSPA)
  • HHS Media, Harrisonburg High School, Harrisonburg, Va. (CSPA)
  • HiLite, Carmel High School, Carmel, Ind. (NSPA)
  • Knight Errant, Benilde-St. Margaret’s High School, St. Louis Park, Minn. (NSPA)
  • Manual RedEye, duPont Manual High School, Louisville, Ky. (CSPA)
  • Mill Valley News, Mill Valley High School, Shawnee, Kansas. (NSPA)
  • Pathfinder, Parkway West High School, Ballwin, Mo. (CSPA)
  • Rubicon Online, St. Paul Academy and Summit School, St. Paul, Minn. (NSPA, CSPA)
  • Scot Scoop, Carlmont High School, Belmont, Calif. (NSPA)
  • Southwest Shadow, Southwest Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada. (NSPA, CSPA)
  • The Black & White, Walt Whitman High School, Bethesda, Md. (CSPA)
  • The Broadview, Convent of the Sacred Heart High School, San Francisco, Calif. (CSPA)
  • The Communicator, Community High School, Ann Arbor, Mich. (CSPA)
  • The Featherduster, Westlake High School, Westlake, Texas. (CSPA)
  • The Foothill Dragon Press, Foothill Technology High School, Ventura, Calif. (CSPA)
  • The Hawkeye, Mountlake Terrace High School, Mountlake Terrace, Wash. (NSPA)
  • The Highlander, McLean High School, McLean, Va. (CSPA)
  • The Kirkwood Call, Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Mo. (NSPA)
  • The Muse, Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of Arts, West Palm Beach, Fla. (CSPA)
  • The Review, St. John’s School, Houston, Texas. (CSPA)
  • The Rider Online, Legacy High School, Mansfield, Texas. (CSPA)
  • The Shakerite, Shaker Heights High School, Shaker Heights, Ohio. (CSPA)
  • The Shield, McCallum High School, Austin, Texas. (NSPA)
  • The Southerner, Henry W. Grady High School, Atlanta, Ga. (CSPA)
  • The Standard, The American School in London, London, U.K. (CSPA)
  • The Tam News, Tamalpais High School, Mill Valley, Calif. (CSPA)
  • Tiger Times, Texas High School, Texarkana, Texas. (CSPA)
  • tjToday, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, Va. (CSPA)
  • U-High Midway, University of Chicago Laboratory High School, Chicago, Ill. (NSPA)
  • Wayland Student Press Network, Wayland High School, Wayland, Mass. (NSPA)
  • Wingspan, Liberty High School, Frisco, Texas. (NSPA, CSPA)

Congratulations to the advisers and staffs of these terrific programs.