What’s Better, Online or Print? (FACEOFF)
October 12, 2018
In our tech-centric world, there are times in which we all need a way to unplug. Our print newspaper issues are the best way to delve into student journalism at Palmetto Senior High.
To begin, print stories make a lasting impact on the school community. While online stories may be published in a more timely fashion, print stories are the ones that students and teachers remember. Last school year (2017-2018), our news article on Juuling was the buzz of the school, since it was specifically aimed at the teenagers who relate to the information in that story. When was the last time all the students were talking about a story posted on the Panther’s website? Not only are print stories more prone to be “the talk of the town,” but they are usually much more refined. Online stories are edited around three times before they are uploaded.Print stories are specifically chosen to be relevant when they are printed, and they are usually edited five to seven times, which results in higher-quality stories.
As a class, putting together print issues is what brings the newspaper staff together. Online is much more independent process; the student writes their story, it is edited a few times and then uploaded. Print gives the newspaper staff the opportunity to work together, therefore promoting teamwork. When working on a print issue, section editors help designers and writers, and the entire staff works together to make the best story and page for print. here is always something for someone to do, all hands are on deck! With print stories, the newspaper is more than a class, it’s a community.
One major factor that sets The Panther apart from other student newspapers are the designs. Online stories heavily lack design components, while each page of the print issue has an enticing visual image. Design is what catches the readers’ eyes, and makes them halt in the middle of flipping pages to look at the story.
Not only does print have much more design, but the design is much more elaborate. Just like print stories, designs have had much more time to be edited and checked for little mistakes before they are sent to print. This allows for more creativity, since there are several drafts to change the design to fit the angle of the story as well as the designer’s style.
Online is fast-paced and includes relevant content, but are students actually reading the online stories? Unfortunately, most students are unaware that there is a website, let alone that articles are uploaded almost weekly. Even to the students that are aware of the website’s existence, many do not take the time to go to the website and browse through the list of articles in their free time. Once students receive their copy of the print issue, many of them spend time combing through the paper to find those Smoothie King coupons. There are more eyes on those print pages than on any online story. Online newspaper keeps students up-to-date and pumps stories out constantly, but print issues are the ones that serve the impact, both in design and through its articles.
For those seeking timely news, an array of captivating digital media elements, and the incredible accessibility of stories, The Panther’s online website proves ideal.
With the unique ability for online stories to be published constantly– and consistently– the risk of reading a story covering three-week old news is steadfastly eliminated. Reading relevant news is the key purpose in journalism. Its basic definition entails the reading of something previously unknown, addressing the key information. In terms of the nature of the stories published so frequently, in this case, the phrase “quality over quantity” is still satisfied. Despite the fast publishing rates of our website, that in no way means the quality of them is comprised. Each online story undergoes three rounds of copy edits, and although that is less than print, this is simply due to the nature of a faster efficiency rate to keep up with the website. Copy editors are trained to apply their same skills– and the quality of them- quicker. Because print issues are allowed an extensive time period in creating, it is no wonder they are edited a greater number of times. So, this fact does not disparage the quality of online articles.
The types of online stories in terms of sections completely mirrors that of print stories. Feature, Life, News, Sports, and Opinion (such as this story!) are just as well found on our website, just not in the rigid order print issues require. The freedom created allows those same hard-hitting Feature stories to be written even more often, as print issues allow only one of those a month. These stories that get people talking are absolutely not limited to print, and are given a more flexible platform.
The process of creating online stories very much much mimics that of the print issues of The Panther, and the communal efforts are alike as well. When determining which story ideas will make the cut in earning a place on our online spreadsheet, every member of staff pitches their ideas and makes their voices heard- a combined effort. In terms of the writing process, editing, as already mentioned, is crucial.
However, contrary to popular belief, the same design elements utilized in our print issues are employed in online stories, and to an even greater extent. While designs for print surely prove more elaborate, this makes sense in regard to print issues’ format. On our website, appealing designs are also present, and we even have the freedom to create videos. These videos resonate greatly with the student body, and get them talking just as much as one of our print stories, especially with our “Are These Palmetto Students Smarter than a fifth grader” video, for example. The creation of these videos especially requires communal efforts. Someone must film while another person asks questions, then the video must be edited by another person, and so on. Group collaboration is not compromised whatsoever.
In regards to accessibility, the more effective method can be argued. Print issues become forced upon our students, and can be found in just about every English classroom during distribution day. After a few weeks, students are likely to never read that issue again due to the unlikeliness of their taking it home. In terms of our website, its accessibility far surpasses that of our print issues because it will never disappear from English classrooms or find itself in the trash bins. Even though our website address may not be known to every student, with our emphasis on developing our social media presence this year through Instagram and Twitter, this obstacle is diminishing.
We joke that online never sleeps, but in actuality, it really does not. Anyone can type in www.thepalmettopanther.com with the assured promise of reading current, well-constructed, appealing and intriguing stories 24/7.