Going digital: kcpipernews.com is the new way of sharing news

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Going digital: kcpipernews.com is the new way of sharing news

Junior Mackenzie Walton reads stories on kcpipernews.com

Junior Mackenzie Walton reads stories on kcpipernews.com

Grace Haworth

Junior Mackenzie Walton reads stories on kcpipernews.com

Grace Haworth

Grace Haworth

Junior Mackenzie Walton reads stories on kcpipernews.com

Grace Haworth, Mass Media Student

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Back in 2012, the journalism department decided to start its website. The site, kcpipernews.com, offers news and updates related to the high school. With the new way of sharing information, the yearly amount of printed newspaper issues was cut by one to six issues, three per semester.

One of the main reasons the site was introduced was because it allows more timely news to be shared. The introduction of the site was a little chaotic at first. Journalism teacher Cindy Horchem, said that when the website was first starting, both the yearbook staff and the newspaper staff contributed. It’s a formula that has worked in the past, but currently the newspaper staff runs the site.

At first, it was decided that the website would be created by the newspaper staff and not from a company. Starting out, the newspaper staff had help from a former student. 2009 graduate Jonathan Matson returned in 2012 to aid the journalism department with starting the website.

The next year, the staff decided to instead use School Newspapers Online to host the site. School Newspapers Online was created by two former high school journalism teachers. They created a platform for high school journalism websites, which is used by both high schools and colleges. Kcpipernews.com now uses School Newspapers Online as a template for the site.

The advantages of the website allow for more timely news, which the six issues of the printed paper cannot keep up with. Although the site has this advantage, it was not made to replace the printed newspaper.

“It’s a balancing act,” Horchem said, “because we are not trying to lose the paper.”

The staff would like kcpipernews.com to be the “go to” source for news, but they do not want it to replace the newspaper.

The stories for kcpipernews.com are brainstormed along with the stories for the newspaper. Most of the time, any stories that do not make it into the printed newspaper are posted on kcpipernews.com. Along with news stories, the website also has a photo gallery. The amount of photos on the website this year is more than ever before.

As the website’s editor, Jalen Zwart is the person who assigns stories, makes sure they are completed and edits them.

“My biggest job is to monitor the whole process of from when the story idea is found and assigned to when it is posted on the web,” Zwart said. According to Zwart, the website allows more timely stories but it has less feature stories compared to the printed newspaper. One big challenge Zwart faces with the website is trying to get the staff more motivated to write stories for kcpipernews.com.

“Motivating people to do work that they are not going to see in a hard-copy format is kind of hard,” she said. Zwart said that keeping the website updated regularly, which is about once a week, can be pretty stressful especially if the stories are not being completed.

Some pros and cons, Zwart said, are that kcpipernews.com is more flexible with timely news and story length, but it does not attract as much attention. Although the online version has more freedom, Zwart does not think kcpipernews.com will replace the printed newspaper anytime soon.

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