Fluco student newspaper moves online

The Fluco Beat goes digital

Fluco-dom is going digital—at least when it comes to newspaper. After almost ten years of various printed forms, from a glossy magazine to a printed tabloid, theFluco Beat FCHS newspaper is moving to an online format.

“The wave of the future in school newspapers is to go online,” said FCHS Journalism Adviser Elizabeth Pellicane. Pellicane and this year’s newspaper editors, Cristian Franco and Chris Markham, had been considering the move for some time due to three things: cost, timeliness and availability.

According to Pellicane, the cost of a running a printed school newspaper is steep: Each 1,000 copy printing of The Fluco Beat costs around $250. With the journalism team producing about seven issues each school year that adds up to roughly $1750 of etched paper annually. With the paper being free, and since the Journalism Department receives no funds from the school district, printing costs must be covered by doing fundraisers and selling ads. “Fluvanna’s relatively small number of businesses makes it impossible to underwrite a print newspaper,” said Pellicane. In comparison, a one-year subscription to School Newspapers Online (which will be hosting the online news site) costs only slightly more than a single print issue of The Fluco Beat, “so it’s just more cost-effective,” Pellicane said.

A second reason for moving to an online newspaper is that it is far easier and more efficient to update than its printed cousin. “Instead of only publishing one edition once a month, we’ll be able to publish breaking stories as often as we get them approved,” Pellicane said. She added that the online format is also interactive and timely. “It’s extremely difficult to create a newspaper that’s of interest to people when it only comes out once a month. By the time you’re printing information it’s usually old,” she said.  Plus, students will hopefully be more attracted to the news site because it will be interactive, with the capability of including links to slideshows, polls, videos and more. “For example, if we were doing an article on prom we could post a poll asking people how they liked the music, then post the results at the end of the week,” Pellicane said.

Posting The Fluco Beat online will also make it more accessible to students.  “More and more people are getting their news online. The wave in journalism is toward electronic media that people can access whenever they want on their computers, smart phones, etc, and we want to keep up with the times,” Pellicane said.

The journalism team has now posted the inaugural edition of the online Fluco Beat at theflucobeat.com. So is the printed Fluco Beat dead? Not necessarily. “If we can raise the money, we’re hoping to still do two printed editions next year for Homecoming and Prom,” said Pellicane.