Online Journalism Blog

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It's only natural that a newspaper created by an online generation has a home on the Internet. But for Jonesboro, Arkansas' Nettleton High School and a chunk of about 470 middle and high schools across the country, their student newspapers have gone fully digital with no print editions.

Nettleton's The Chieftain is one of those 470 hosted on the online repository, www.myhighschooljournalism.org, which is offered through the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Having gone totally online since September 2006, the Chieftain may end up accelerating its usual monthly publishing. According to this piece from eSchool News, the comparison of the production costs of making a print edition and the Chieftain's online hosting - with no additional charges beyond a $50 sign-up fee - is no contest. What's more, the original Associated Press story (via Little Rock's FOX affiliate, KLRT-TV) reports ad money from the online edition is now being used for other things like conferences, according to the paper's advisor Dinah McClurg.

From the looks of these pieces, it appears that the folks at Nettleton High are acclimating very well to their paper going online. It certainly makes for much more exposure and they weren't selling a whole lot of print copies anyway. While I'm still not convinced that mainstream newspapers should jettison the paper and go for broke on the Internet (I don't know if many people are), I think that high school and college journalism can be a breeding ground for a movement of that nature. If it is successful, it won't be surprising for people our age. But it will only compound the problems facing the printed press.

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