The Charger Account

Noozhawk to mentor, partner with The Charger Account

By Kristen Gowdy

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Kristen Gowdy | Sports Editor | August 24, 2011

It’s that time of year again in Santa Barbara. The pencils are sharpened, classrooms are clean, and the crisp fall weather (ok, the gloomy June-like fall weather) is a reminder that school is right around the corner. While the leaves don’t change colors here in Santa Barbara, The Charger Account has dramatically changed, and its staff and editors are ready to take on the new challenge of maintaining an online newspaper.

Even more exciting than the debut of The Charger Account online is the promised partnership with the successful local online publication Noozhawk, and its founder Bill Macfadyen.

“In my experience in education,” says new DP journalism advisor Bill Woodard, “students need many more opportunities for collaboration with professionals in the real world. Noozhawk and Mr. Macfadyen are the perfect models for what we are trying to accomplish with The Charger Account.”

And if collaboration with the real world is what Mr. Woodard wants, collaboration is what he will get. Not only has Noozhawk agreed to partner with The Charger Account, but Mr. Macfadyen also has also said that journalists from Noozhawk will be available to come in and mentor the DP journalism class.

“That’s the thing I’m most looking forward to,” says Woodard. “It’s one thing to hear it from me, but so much more meaningful to learn from professional journalists who are doing this type of work on a daily basis.”

The excitement is mutual with Noozhawk as well.

“Noozhawk is excited to partner with The Charger Account and we look forward to working with its student journalists this year. The Dos Pueblos High School community has been so supportive of us and it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to give something back,” says Macfadyen.

“Besides,” he adds, “we’re impressed that the school newspaper has chosen to follow our lead into the online-only future of journalism. What’s not to love about that?”

Interning at Noozhawk this summer, I had the opportunity to learn from the best and work firsthand with the staff. The experience helped me grow so much with my writing, and I know that the Noozhawk staff will help the rest of the journalism class as much as they helped me throughout the year.

So if The Charger Account had been going strong for over 40 years in a monthly print publication, why change to online now?

For Mr. Woodard, who worked as a sports reporter and copy editor before going into teaching, the move online makes sense for both journalism students and the greater Dos Pueblos community.

“Going online allows us to constantly update the site which will enable the students in the class to have many more opportunities to cover the stories and events that students care about,” says Woodard. “So the chance to move from a print publication that only publishes once a month to one that offers students the opportunity to publish throughout each school week was really a no-brainer. And hopefully our site can develop into an interactive one where students feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas in letters to the editor, guest columns, and comments on the stories they read.”

The Charger Account, which launched its first online article on Aug. 10, has since been releasing one or two articles daily. For the few students who have been working over the summer to produce the material on the site, the work has been well worth the outcome.

“I’m excited for The Charger Account to be available to more people and easier to access,” says junior staff writer Haley Peterson, “I love that we are moving forward with innovative technology rather than being stuck in the old days of paper and print.”

It’s true. There will no longer be the scramble during fifth period due to shortages of newspapers. The Charger Account will be easy to access for anyone at DP, and any Charger alumni who are interested in what is happening around campus.

“That’s an added benefit,” says Woodard. “Now DP parents, alumni, and the general public will be able to access the paper anytime and anywhere. It greatly expands our potential readership and hopefully will allow more people to connect to what’s happening on campus.”

Going online isn’t the only way that The Charger Account has moved forward into the technological age. It is now linked to Facebook, Twitter, and of course, Noozhawk, in order to spread coverage and gain publicity. In order to acquire even more readers, The Charger Account has also set up an email subscription link where subscribers will receive daily emails of the new content on the site. These marketing strategies are similar to those used by Noozhawk.

“Basically, what we hope to do is turn The Charger Account into a Noozhawk for DP,” says Woodard. “We want to turn it into a working newsroom where students get the experience of working at a daily paper.”

And so far, that’s what has been happening. Noozhawk sticks to local Santa Barbara news just as The Charger Account looks to cover only DP stories, giving Chargers everywhere the full scope of what’s happening in Hicktown.

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Dos Pueblos High School's Student Newspaper
Noozhawk to mentor, partner with The Charger Account