The Project in a nutshell
An overview to the Project
The Project for Better Journalism (PBJ) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization devoted to strengthening student journalism. We provide and support news platforms for high school journalism programs all across the country. Our work and advocacy promotes student speech and equips educators– all for free.
Today’s schools need to help students branch out. Students need quality extracurricular and elective programs — not to mention real-world work opportunities — but educators struggle to provide them while juggling more than ever before. Amidst a nationwide wave of budget cuts and program downsizing, they often need to do this with less time and money.
The Project seeks to counter, and perhaps reverse, this trend.
PBJ helps solve these problems, empowering students and educators. We provide a strong foundation for school journalism programs:
- We support a network of journalism programs all across the country.
- Each chapter is provided one of the best online news platforms around — with beautiful aesthetics, strong multimedia support, and more.
- We provide training, continuous assistance, technical support, and other services to each chapter, with monitoring around the clock. We have their backs.
- Schools are part of a nationwide network and have access to collaborative events: photo and art shows, literary and political discussions, inter-school conferences, and more.
- Schools also have access to program enrichment opportunities by top journalists in the country: thanks to strategic and special partnerships with journalists, students can participate in workshops and Q&As with top news agencies.
- Thanks to the support of institutional benefactors and individual donors, everything we provide is completely free of charge. No strings attached.
We think PBJ is the best thing to happen to school journalism programs in a long time. Our network is growing faster than ever. If you run or manage a journalism program, chances are: we’re right for you too.
PBJ is a good thing for your journalism program
Strengthen and empower your students:
The Project helps journalism programs become better– that’s a fact. Our platform helps inform student and parent bodies and leverages the low cost and power of the Internet, allowing educators and administrators to do their work more effectively — all while involving passionate students.
A non-profit standing behind you:
PBJ is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit, able to provide everything at zero cost to you and your school. Our team will also help to train and assist you and your student journalists, and we also have graphic designers, copy editors, technicians, and layout experts available.
Just the best news platform around:
See the Peanut Butter and Jelly Chronicle, a fake demonstration news website that showcases our platform’s features– or visit our featured chapter, The Crimson Review, run by a public high school in New Hampshire, for a live example.
Our recruitment team can also schedule a time to test-drive the website with you over a video or phone call.
- Designed for modern publications: Can handle flexible amounts of content, with support for photo galleries, videos, and multimedia. Unlimited column/category support and authors.
- Customizable to each school: Each school works with us to integrate logo, color schemes, and their specific publishing styles. Our platform supports advertising too (you sell them yourself).
- Flexible and easy to change: Several homepage variations are available with a single click. You can enable breaking news banners and changes as well as full spreads easily.
- Easy to use: Based on the WordPress engine, it’s likely you already know how to use it. Our platform is intuitive yet powerful.
- Your own domain name and platform: The Project pays for the recurring costs of a domain name and hosting on the Internet. We work to ensure you don’t need to handle technical problems.
- A powerful network: Ample opportunities for collaboration exist.
The Project’s platform is also extremely reliable: it was first developed three years ago and has now seen continuous use and testing by our team and at numerous schools around the country. We’ve now published tens of thousands of articles and photos.
Opportunities for students to collaborate:
PBJ-wide and school partnerships encourage students to reach out to other schools. Because our network is vetted and diverse, these are unique ways to learn and share. Photo and art shows, literary discussions, inter-school conferences, and debates are now — with the power of our network and platform — easy to do, even if they occur across the country.
Giving them access to top professional journalists:
A new facet of our program, we will begin, in late 2016, special partnerships with top journalists and news agencies, allowing students to connect with the top experts in the field. Supported by a new grant, students will have the opportunity to video-conference with top journalists and participate in workshops and Q&As.
Never in your way, but there when you need us:
We know you know how to run your own journalism program — this isn’t outsourcing teaching, and you remain in charge. Project services are there when you need them, and out of the way when you don’t. If you don’t want to collaborate with other schools, that’s okay. Your chapter is autonomous and your content remains yours, with full control and responsibility. We’ll also work with you to integrate school policies and procedures.
How would this work?
If you already have a school newspaper or magazine:
Great– we can work with your existing publication to expand its reach. The content you already produce can become the backbone of your new website, allowing your news team to provide better and faster coverage than they could with a print publication alone– with faster turnaround times, more graphics and multimedia, and greater detail.
If you already have a news website:
The best course of action is to submit our outreach form (below) so we can offer you in-depth guidance. Generally speaking, our platform is stronger than what is already in use — better looking, easier to use, more convenient, and offered at a cost impossible to beat. That being said, our team can let you know we are a strong fit for your program. Do you use SNO?
Our platform is WordPress-based so it is very easy to learn. Our team can also discuss options regarding transfer and migration to ensure a smooth transition. And if you already have a domain name you like, you’ll be able to keep it (and we will pay for it going forward). Take a look at information we provide our chapter advisers.
Over time, working with us will provide you and your students with more opportunities for growth and collaboration. Here’s one of our chapters’ stories on switching to online-only with PBJ, as covered by the Student Press Law Center.
Why are you doing this?
Did we contact you? Hear from our founder about our school outreach program and why we think reaching out to schools individually is beneficial.
With staffing and budget cuts, extracurricular programs are increasingly getting left at the wayside–especially journalism programs. For us, that’s crushing: journalism provides unique opportunities for students to engage in their community, gain real-world job experience, and prepare for the future. We’re here to help schools take on and offer more, for less.
We’re also here because — quite frankly — school journalism website just need to be better. We’re tired of seeing outdated designs, difficult-to-use and spotty platforms, and for-profit companies that overcharge schools.
For many of the communities we serve, the stakes are much higher: quality extracurricular programs keep kids in school and offer a valuable connection between learning done in and outside of class. Over 40% of our schools encompass under-served communities and populations.
PBJ has been around for a little more than two years. In that time we’ve impacted thousands of educators and students– and we’ve only just begun.
How do I join the Project?
We want to offer our chapters the very best. To ensure our resources and staffing can handle growth, admission to the Project network as a school chapter is by application or invitation only.
We are always open, however, to inquiries from schools of all sizes, types, socioeconomic status, and geographic locations. Our diversity is part of what makes us strong, and we always give each application a thorough examination.
To apply — or to make a detailed inquiry — fill out our prospective schools form. We’ll get back to you within 48 hours, but usually much less. If you have a brief inquiry, you can just contact us via email.
The Project also identifies potential good fits through our extensive recruitment program, and we often reach out directly to educators at those schools. Although our recruitment process is comprehensive, those schools still go through our vetting process.
If you’re interested in employment or volunteer opportunities with the Project (high school and college students encouraged to apply!), learn about serving on the Project team.