SHS Mountaineer newspaper achieves “Distinguished Site” status


Taha Vahanvaty, staff writer

“Running the newspaper has been one of the most rewarding experiences of this school year,” said junior Jasmyn Sanchez.  “I couldn’t be more proud of our whole journalism team for winning us the SNO Distinguished Site badge.” Sanchez and junior Alanna Christman are the Editor-in-Chiefs for the award-winning Mountaineer publication.

“Winning all six badges to get an award-winning site title has been our staff’s overall goal for the whole school year,” said Christman. “Achieving this has been a lot of hard work, but has also granted us with the amazing feeling of accomplishment.”

For those unfamiliar with the gravity of the Distinguished Site Award, it’s the equivalent of a grand slam championship for any online newspaper. In order to obtain the award, the Mountaineer newspaper staff had to earn the following six badges: Site Excellence, Audience Engagement, Continuous Coverage Badge, Story Page Excellence, Excellence in Writing, and Multimedia. 

“On Tuesday morning my phone was blowing up with messages which almost never happens,” said staff writer Justin Buynak. “When I opened my messages I couldn’t believe what I saw. Our newspaper, the Mountaineer, had just received the Distinguished Site Award. We did it.”

The Mountaineer newspaper has been published and read by a variety of people since 1929. Recently, due to the new advancement in technology, the Mountaineer has made the transition from a hard copy newspaper to a digital publication, allowing it to gain national recognition.

Each badge requires a grueling amount of work, as staff writer and senior Samuel Watanabe recalls.

“I have pulled several all-nighters to help meet some of these badge requirements,” said Watanabe. Throughout the school year, the entire Mountaineer staff has held countless meetings after school, during school, and sometimes even before school, to elevate the newspaper’s clout to where it is today. Through countless story revisions, competitions, site designing, and sleepless nights, the Mountaineer has been successful in not only producing award-winning content but a tight-knit journalism team as well.

“Yeah, there were some really rough times,” said Watanabe, “but I don’t think I would trade it for the experiences, lessons, and friendships I have made getting the Mountaineer where it is today.”

Veteran Mountaineer staff members have noticed our success this school year.

“The Mountaineer has taught me a lot about what it means to be a part of a team and a leader,” said second-year member Cassie Oppelt. “There is so much going on in our school and community all the time, and it’s up to our team to take it all in and produce award-winning content. The grind never stops.”

The Mountaineer is one of the most viewed online high school newspapers in the country. The staff would like to continue making its mark next year, as well. With the senior class rolling out, the newspaper is looking for more students who are interested in being a part of the journalism program.  If students are interested in making new friends, writing, taking photos/videos, designing our site, and having lots of opportunities to do fun things in school, they should contact adviser Mr. Matt Sobrinski at [email protected].

“This year’s staff has been terrific,” said Sobrinski. “They are a dedicated, team-oriented group that has been committed to providing the entire school community with a tremendous newspaper, and they have done just that.  The Mountaineer is informative and entertaining.  There is definitely something in there for every reader.”

Here are the editors for the 2019-20 Mountaineer:

Editor-in-Chief: Alanna Christman and Jasmyn Sanchez, Video Editor: Ivana Karataseva, Photography Editor: Amaya Cruz, and Social Media Director: Cassie Oppelt.

Be sure to click on the link below to view the Mountaineer, as well as other high schools that have earned Distinguished Site recognition. Follow us on social media and download our app for story updates and more.

The Mountaineer

Award-Winning High School Newspapers

App: Student News Source

Facebook: @shsmountaineer

Instagram: @shsmountaineer

Twitter: @SHSMountaineer

Snapchat: @shsmountaineer

Email: [email protected]