The Project for Better Journalism Announced Plans to Shutdown Our School Newspaper

CHFHSnews is Shutting Down


Virginia Bates

Recently, the Project for Better Journalism (PBJ) announced plans to discontinue their school newspaper hosting service. They have helped us run and grow our website for over six (6) years, but now since PBJ Chapters are discontinuing on June 15, 2021, because of financial issues, we need to migrate to another site in order to provide news for the Jaguar community.
We are considering migrating over to School Newspapers Online (SNO), one of the competitors against PBJ. They offer a similar high school journalism program site, but at a great price.
The Project for Better Journalism helped provide schools nationwide with top-notch journalism programs — and for free. PBJ has always operated on a thin budget. This has in part been driven by their thesis that operating school journalism websites is not something that should cost very much money to schools and that an external provider like themselves can benefit from economies of scale and technology. Unfortunately due to the pandemic, they found it difficult to gain the attention of philanthropic foundations that had shifted their resources to other important causes.
PBJ has also historically relied on significant in-kind donations from technology service companies that keep our service running. These are anywhere from discounted hosting costs to service credits. Most in-kind donations have been exhausted.
PBJ is deeply saddened but does not wish to end student journalism, particularly in the virtual education era of COVID-19. They believe is more important than ever as a program that congregates students together virtually and productively.
They are recommending SNO to their chapters, even though they have criticized SNO due to their high prices (costing 100-1000x what these services should cost), which has placed their services out of contention for most of our low-income or Title 1 schools.
However, SNO continues to offer a robust product and excels at providing support, billing, and invoicing that is tuned to the needs of schools. Their pricing, while high, appeals to the purchase-order-driven process that many public schools demand. They also, quite frankly, have the best track record between SNO and PBJ of continuing to exist. They also have quite a bit of experience in migrating websites to and from PBJ.
Considering what the journalism team has researched, SNO might be the best option for us. SNO is excellent, but we are going to have to come with $400.


SNO now hosts websites for over 3,000 scholastic and collegiate news publications from around the country. Their services are designed to take care of all the technological challenges for us so we can focus on what matters most: journalism.
SNO and the service we provide was shaped around feedback from programs like ours to meet the specific needs of scholastic journalism publications. Their platform is easy to use and completely customizable, allowing a great-looking website that is entirely our own.
The standard pricing for K-12 programs is $250 to build a site and $400 a year for hosting and unlimited support. However, active PBJ programs that sign up for our services by March 15, 2021, are waiving our standard $250 website setup fee and providing free content migrations.
So we need to raise money by March 15 so students can continue their journey, having a platform where they can write and their voices can be heard!