School Newspapers Online recognizes West Side Story as a 2019 SNO Distinguished Site is the first website in Iowa to receive this honor so far this year


Row 1: Jessica Doyle, Mary Vander Weg, Aditi Borde, Sidney Kiersch, Luke Krchak, Fatima Kammona, MohammedHilal Al-Ani Row 2: Bess Frerichs, Anjali Huynh, Alex Carlon, Edward Keen, Ken Wilbur, Harry Westergaard, Rain Richards Row 3: Lucy Polyak, Gwen Watson, Carmela Cohen Suarez, Ting Gao, Natalie Dunlap, Sophie Stephens, Maddi Shinall, Alyssa Skala Not pictured: Emma Hall, Kara Wagenknecht

WSS Staff

Each year School Newspapers Online offers student newspaper programs with outstanding journalism the opportunity to apply to become a SNO Distinguished Site, according to a press release from SNO. On March 13, the West Side Story web staff earned this status for the third year in a row—becoming the first school in Iowa and securing West High as third place in the national Distinguished Sites Leaderboard.

Before awarding the title of SNO Distinguished Site, WSS earned online digital badges in the areas of site excellence, story page design, writing, multimedia, coverage and audience engagement. Representing what SNO sees as the six components of a modern news website, these six individual badges make up the SNO Distinguished Sites program. 

Kara Wagenknecht ’19 is the online editor-in-chief. “We’ve been working for this all year as a staff,” Wagenknecht said. “Everybody, not just the web people, but everyone in broadcast and print, too, contributed so much to allow us to get this award.”

Wagenknecht said she’s especially impressed with the WSS staffers’ determination to always achieve more. “It’s not just about the awards, but it’s a big confidence booster to everyone on staff,” Wagenknecht said. Here is a complete WSS staff list.