SNN gets ready to go multi-media

Garden Valley Collegiate
Winkler, Manitoba

By Elisabeth Rempel, Grade 12



The SchoolNet News Network (SNN) -- and its French counterpart, Rédaction de Rescol -- will be re-launched on the Internet this fall.

SNN is a national Internet project developed by STEM-Net in Newfoundland and sponsored by Canada's School Net. SNN is aimed at Kindergarten to Grade 12 students in Canad but students from anywhere in the world are welcome to contribute.

The two-year-old site will have some new features as it heads into its third year. Video and audio segments will be added, giving students more ways to tell their stories. Stories can be accompanied by photos, video tape, or audio tape sounds.

SNN publishes once a month. But because it is an online publication, the editor can make changes and add stories as information changes.

SNN has already featured the work of students from all over Canada. It is a great opportunity for new writers to publish their work and to share their ideas and opinions. And the project has also helped students to become familiar with the Internet and use technology to enhance their knowledge.

Beth Ryan, coordinator of SNN, says that the timing of the re-launch has a lot to do with resources. Last year, SNN did not have a full-time staff and was operated by staff from STEM-Net, the technology network for schools in Newfoundland. However, this year, SNN is fully funded by Industry Canada through the SchoolNet program.

"That means SNN could hire a full-time journalist and web designer to work on the re-launch," says Ryan.

As SNN heads into the third year, Ryan says the publication hopes to expand and improve the reporting and writing on the site and also to get more students involved in the project.

Ryan says that the goals of SNN are almost endless. Over the next year, she says the plan is to "develop SNN into a multimedia site that includes written material, photos, video segments and audio clips in every issue."

During the summer, SNN staff plan to get in touch with schools across the country and invite them to get involved with SNN. Over time, they would like to see students reporting from each province and territory. This would make it a truly national newspaper. A number of schools already publish their own newspapers and SNN hopes to get some of these writers to send in their stories.

This fall, students will be able to take part in a mentorship program, which pairs them with newspaper and broadcast journalists.

"Through our mentorship program, we hope to give aspiring journalists support and advice from professionals," says Ryan.

The re-designed SNN will be launched in late August.

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