East Newspaper Goes Digital!
As of August, 2012, Downingtown East’s newspaper will not so much be seen in print format anymore. Rather, it will be accessible to absolutely everyone through the World Wide Web.
Off The Record, Downingtown East’s print paper, has been around since 2004 when East became its own school. With the help of Adobe’s InDesign program for the past few years, the newspaper had the chance of looking much like that of The New York Times. But with technology moving forward faster than ever and fewer newspapers being published in print, East decided it needed a change too. The idea to put the paper online started with newspaper co-advisor, Mr. John McGraw.
“Now that we are doing it online, we can produce more content. Now that it is online, it means we can be more current and timely with what we report.” Mr. McGraw also shared that with the new format, it is less costly for the district and the school. With the ability to produce more, reach more people, and cut the costs by fifty percent, there was no doubt that going digital was the right thing to do. He also said, “I want my students to be a part of the evolution and be familiar with it. The fundamentals of journalism are still the same, but it is delivered in a different format now.”
Due to the budget cuts of last year, the paper only had the chance of being published once per marking period. With the paper now online, however, the Publications classes will be publishing weekly, bringing new, current news and updates when they happen. The online version will also allow more interactive elements, such as polls, videos, photo galleries, live blogs, and commentary.
The new digitalized version of the paper is not the only change. Due to the paper’s reform, Mr. McGraw thought it needed a new name as well. “Now that we are branching out into this new medium of reporting, I wanted a new chapter and that comes with a new title.” Kavita Shah, this year’s features editor, came up with DEastRecord. As compared to the other choices, the other editors thought it the obvious winner.
It is not completely the end of a hard copy newspaper for eternity, however. The editors have been discussing the possibility of publishing a last issue in paper format. The last paper in the past years has most commonly been the favorite among teachers and students alike because it contains the “Where Are They Going” and “Where Are They Now” features. The feature “Where Are They Going” lists all the names of the school years present seniors and which college they will be attending in the coming fall. The “Where Are They Now” segment features Downingtown alumni students of at least four years, and what they are doing or have done since graduating high school.
For now, the DEastRecord editors and the co-advisors of the newspaper, Mr. McGraw and Mr. Scheuer, will be working on the cultivation of East’s first online newspaper.