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Brighton High makes online 'Trapezoid' easier to update

Cynthia Benjamin
Staff writer

(March 15, 2006) - BRIGHTON - Brighton High School has taken its traditional student newspaper to a new level online.

The newspaper staff recently launched Trapezoid Online, a journalism Web site that is interactive and makes it easier for Trapezoid writers and photographers to post their work on the Web.>

  Trapezoid Online
  Read the Trapezoid Online at

The project is the result of new software bought with a $1,800 grant from the Brighton Education Fund - plus an extra $200 that the newspaper staff pitched in.

"For starters, we have a wider audience, and it's easier to read than before," said Molly Healy, faculty adviser for the Trapezoid.

"It's much more user-friendly. Our editors can get things up online in no time. They don't have to be techies to do it."

Trapezoid Online highlights news, features, sports and other student articles and photos from its print edition but with added features, including a New York Times news ticker that carries the latest news of the day.

There is a daily photo feature, a search feature and links to past articles. The staff also can add opinion polls and get feedback from readers.

Brighton High seniors Alex Strelnikov and Xiaohang Liu, the editors-in-chief of the school paper, also oversee layout and design.

"In the last year, we've gone from a broadsheet to a tabloid in the print edition and that's a little different," said Alex, "but the online version is a lot easier because the program does everything you want it to do. You have more options."

David Occhino, the district's Web coordinator, who helped design the education software, said the student newspaper already had been published on the school's Web site, but postings were irregular and depended on a few students.

He applied for the grant and worked to help design the new software.

"It became clear that there needed to be a piece of software that would take all the difficulty out of it so the staff could focus on what they do best - writing and taking pictures," he said.

The Trapezoid earned 16 honors in the annual Empire State Scholastic Press Association's contest in November, including most improved and best all-around newspaper, Healy said.

She doesn't know how old the Trapezoid is, but "we have issues in our archives from World War II," she said.

The print version of the Trapezoid is generally 12 pages and is a monthly tab with distribution of 1,600 copies. That is not expected to change.

"The students today live in the online world," said Occhino. "This is their way of socializing - and getting information."

March 15, 2006

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