Staff at ‘The Red and Black’ introduces online-only newspaper

| January 21, 2015

COSHOCTON – “The Red and Black,” Coshocton High School’s student-run newspaper, has seen a lot of changes since its inception in the early 1950s. However, this year’s staff members decided to make possibly the biggest change in the paper’s history by introducing an online-only edition of their newspaper.

“Changing over to an electronic issue has been challenging for me, but it’s exciting,” said Helen Boyd, adviser of “The Red and Black” and journalism teacher. “We have always done a print edition until this year. This was the students’ decision. I told them that this is how the industry is moving, so what do you want to do?”

When the decision was made to go electronically, staff members started searching for a student newspaper website and came across schoolnewspapersonline.com.

“They were the most helpful and were going to give us the most bang for our buck,” said Boyd.

There was a variety of web designs to choose from, and the students voted on their favorite. The website also provides students with goals to work toward and awards badges for learning new aspects of journalism and incorporating more advanced techniques, layout, writing, and photography.

“It’s giving the staff some added feedback and goals to strive for,” said Boyd. “I really like this aspect of the company.”

Staff members have found that, while an online-edition is more beneficiary to their readers, it’s been a challenge adapting to the changes.

“It’s been a struggle at times,” said Jake Glauser, editor, “I think the biggest challenge for us is, a lot of the time with the Internet, you want pictures to go with the articles, and it’s very time consuming to upload pictures. It’s hard to set things in stone right away during a 40-minute class.”

Editor Katie Meddings agrees that the online edition can be time consuming.

“It’s hard always staying up to date,” she said. “People are always saying, when are you going to post new things? We’re trying. We have a good-sized staff, though. Coming up with stories isn’t too hard. We work well together and we can depend on each other.”

Currently, 15 students are on the staff of “The Red and Black” and the paper is open to all students grades nine through 12. Their target audience is students at the high school, but the website is open to anyone. There are six sections on the website: News, Sports, Student Life, Opinion, Features, and Entertainment. Readers are encouraged to leave comments about articles they’ve read or the website in general. Staff members cover news from around the school and also collaborate news from around the world.

Feature editors, Lyndsey Desender and Autumn Dickerson, remember a story they recently did that tied their school with a national decision.

“One article we wrote about was the school lunches and how they are changing to be healthier,” said Dickerson. “We incorporated Mrs. Obama into the article.”

Desender said they like to talk to friends and find out what’s going on and what would be fun to feature as ideas for their stories.

Their goal is to update the website each Friday during the school year. In addition to the paper, the students attend a journalism class taught by Boyd where they learn terms and techniques used in writing and design. A lot of the students want to make journalism their career, so they are getting a head start in Boyd’s class and with “The Red and Black.”

“I think with starting young in school, you get a feel for how to approach people for quotes for articles,” said Glauser. “It’s a wake up call for us on how it needs to be perfect when you write.”

“The Red and Black” website is chsredblack.com. There is also a link to the website on the Coshocton City School District’s homepage.

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About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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