So you’ve had a couple months now to get reacquainted to your online publication.
Your new staffers are trained. You’ve got recent stories up, new photo galleries displayed. You’ve submitted to Best of SNO. You’ve made a few design upgrades. You’ve read every SNO Report and incorporated each lesson into your day-to-day operations.
You’ve played in a big pile of leaves. You went to the Homecoming dance and didn’t spill anything on your dress. Your fantasy football team was a bust. (Dude, mine, too.)
But your website doesn’t have to be! Coming Monday, Nov. 6, we’re reopening our SNO Distinguished Sites awards program.
We recognized 28 student publications as Distinguished Sites (the granddaddy of them all) last year and awarded 90 sites and total of 268 badges. Don’t miss out on getting your piece of the pie this time. Once it’s open, you can apply for any of six badges as many times as it takes until you get our stamp of approval. Earn all six, and you’re a SNO Distinguished Site.
Here’s a rundown of what those six badges are:
Continuous Coverage: We want to see you doing frequent and sustained reporting — crucial to being a valuable online resource for your readers. So we’re looking at how you develop a story over time, what you do to follow up a story, and how quickly you post updates following an event (hint: within two days).
Story Page Excellence: Combing over our recent SNO Reports will help you out here, but essentially we’re looking for story pages that aren’t messy or error-ridden, that use SNO Story Elements and use our different story templates appropriately.
Excellence in Writing: Some of you eager beavers have already earned this little guy. If you’ve submitted to Best of SNO this year and been published three or more times, you’re in.
Multimedia: It’s no help to have well-written articles with this one. Nope. We’re looking at your videos and photo slideshows, and judging how well done they are based on length, quality, interest level and other such things.
Audience Engagement: For this, we’re measuring how popular your site is and judging your social media footprint. The two aren’t unrelated.
Site Excellence: How’s your homepage looking? You must have customized your site beyond the preset design you got in the beginning (no matter how long ago or recent that was), and that customization should look good. There’s a 23-step guide that breaks down exactly what we’re looking at for you to earn this badge.
For more in-depth explanations of the requirements, and to start applying on Nov. 6, see the Distinguished Sites page of your website.