The Voice Goes Online

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 Click through the presentation above or hit autoplay (Graphic by Michael Geheren, Digital Editor)

The Huntley High School newspaper launched their new Website “The Voice Online” last month and is hoping to get the attention of the greater community.

The Voice, formerly known as The Tribe, has been the newspaper forHuntleyHigh Schoolsince 1997. The paper is entirely student run and prints eight issues a year and will continue the trend with the site now available. This will be the newspaper’s fifteenth year of publishing.

The start of the website came last January when the newspaper’s design editor, Michael Geheren, started creating a prototype of what would later become “The Voice Online.” He revealed the site to other editors and his journalism advisor Dennis Brown.

“We never did a website because I always wanted it to be as good as our newspaper,” said Brown. “But with Michael’s assistance and his knowledge of all this, I’ve managed to catch up and he has managed to set up things.”

Brown taught web design at the high school years ago and knew the basics of website design, but was hesitant to start something of his own. Over the summer, he attended a week long web design clinic at the University of Iowa and learned from Journalism Education Association Digital Media Chair, Aaron Manfull.

 “I knew I needed to get caught up if I was going to have a hand in this, which I think I did,” said Brown.

Other members of The Voice’s editorial board also made contributions to the Website’s planning. Each section editor brainstormed ideas for what they wanted done to their part of the site.

“Sports used to be a boring section where it used to be like summaries of the month,” said sports editor Marek Makowski. “Now it’s like Sports Illustrated where we can have big features in print so it’s not that dull boring section.”

The site also drew upon other online influences: “The Huntley Patch”, “Highlight” (Caramel High School), “FHNToday.com” (Francis Howell North High School), “The Maneater” (University of Missouri), and “The Daily Iowan” (University of Iowa).

Because The Voice Online is student run like its print newspaper, writers have the responsibility to keep the rest of the school up-to-date. Unlike previous years, all (number of students) writers in the class are responsible for submitting articles.

The work-load varies depending on the section and other side projects (columns, blogs, etc.).

“The students are the ones who are supposed to be in charge,” said Brown. “I hang back and watch and coach them.”

Even after the completion of the website, the District 158 Board of Education had to grant the newspaper permission to launch.

According to Brown, the board was concerned with students’ safety and the circulation of pictures posted with content.

The board approved the site last month, officially opening it up to the public.

“It’s been a long process, but I think it shows the district is very supportive,” said Brown. “Their interest is making sure when this thing got off the ground that we do it well.”

The newspaper staff has new objectives in mind to increase the site’s views and get the rest of the school involved. The improvements will be made to make the site more interactive and user friendly.

“I would like to hopefully allow students to write blogs and make their opinions known,” said Geheren. “It would an after school activity, but it hasn’t been approved.”

Other innovative ideas will be added to the site as time goes, but the ability to get breaking news to site-goers is what matters most to the writers.

“It [Website] is more like what a real newspaper does,” said Brown. “It allows us to pursue journalism the way it should be pursued. That is exciting to me.”

 

 

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Brendon Urban is a senior at Huntley High School and acts as the News Editor for The Voice. Brendon has written for The Voice for three years and has been an editor for two. Aside from writing, Brendon enjoys playing percussion in the marching band and wind symphony and being a part of the varsity tennis team. You can follow Brendon on Twitter: @BrendonUrban

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