The Roar will pilot website program for Brevard County Schools

Lucia Baglivio, Managing Editor

It’s the most anticipated night of first semester. The Thursday before Homecoming, the day males leave behind a trail glitter with every step they take and the evening upper-class girls play football while male cheerleaders compete at halftime. It’s Powderpuff, and you’re so excited. But your adrenaline rush is capped when you wake up on this Thursday morning with a fever. You feel so sick that there’s no way you can make it through the school day, let alone the big event.
Have no fear. With an online edition of The Roar, future students could be able to receive the Powderpuff experience through their home
computers via live blogging. This is one of many goals set by The Roar staff made possible because the school district recently granted the staff permission to launch its electronic edition this month.
The idea of an online newspaper is not cutting- edge. In fact, Carmel High School in Indiana has had its newspaper online since 1996. Principal Rick Fleming says an online newspaper is long overdue.
“In order to move our students further into the digital age, we need to give them the proper tools,” he said.
From the time newspaper adviser Mark Schledorn brought the idea to Fleming two years ago, a complicated set of steps has been completed.
“If I had to break [the process of approval] down,” Fleming said, “it would be learning about online newspapers, researching schools with their publication already online, lobbying the district, gaining West Shore administration approval, writing a proposal and finally receiving approval.”
According to Schledorn, the district’s main concern was weighing safety against including students’ first and last names on the Internet.
“If we’re going to teach journalism, we have to be online,” he said. “The vast majority of this school is on Facebook with their first and last names anyway. How will kids know if they like journalism if we don’t teach it the way it’s used in the 21st century?”
West Shore is the first school in the district to move its newspaper to the Internet. Mikayla Larson, editor in chief of The Roar, is confident.
“We are a pilot program,” she said. “Putting the paper online is a necessary measure because our main readers, the students, already spend much of their time on the computer and consume news through the Internet. However, the print version of The Roar will still be distributed at school.”
The staff plans to update to the site each day. Other school publications will also be welcome to contribute their material such as a slideshows of yearbook photos or a TV productions videos. The students in Schledorn’s Journalism 1 class will contribute briefs about competition highlights or upcoming events.
Although Larson is a senior, she is helping younger staff members plan to achieve goals in the future of The Roar.
“One of our ultimate goals is to offer live blogging for the first time at Wildcat Chal-
lenge this year,” Larson said. “We have also talked about offering podcasts to accompany pieces such as the fashion column.”
Junior Lyndsay Yandell is enthusiastic about the alternate availability of the newspaper.
“My seventh-period teacher sometimes forgets to pass out The Roar when there is a new issue,” she said. “I am excited that the paper will be online because I will be able to access it and know what people are talking about when they reference something in the newspaper I don’t have a copy of.”
The Roar staff expects the website to be entertaining enough to generate many hits.
“We hope to post fun, interactive things on the website as well such as polls and surveys,” Larson said. “The window of opportunity we are standing within right now is vast.”