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Student news online – Free toolkit, software

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By Todd Cohen

High school students can publish their own Web newspapers, thanks to an online manual, free software and other resources assembled by The New York Times Company Foundation.

The foundation’s Campus Weblines project grew out of its effort to help students at Stuyvesant High School in New York City create an online version of their Stuyvesant Spectator.

The foundation hired two consultants – Karen Freeman, an editor at the Times’ weekly Circuits section, and her husband, Steven Knowlton, a Hofstra University journalism professor – to work with the Stuyvesant students.

During a summer internship, eight students also helped create a manual their counterparts at any high school could use to create a Web newspaper.

The manual explains online writing and editing, offers tips for putting words and images online, suggests how to set up a newspaper staff and build journalism into classroom work, and examines professional and ethical issues related to online news.

The students also developed online-publishing software, ranging from basic templates to applications for tech-savvy students.

The Times Foundation, which has invested about $100,000 in Campus Weblines, has distributed information about the project to high schools throughout the United States.

But the online kit also can be used by nonprofits and overseas groups, says Jack Rosenthal, the foundation’s president.

The Independent Journalism Foundation in New York, for example, will use Campus Weblines to help young Serb journalists create online newspapers, says Nancy Ward, the foundation’s vice president and managing director.

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