Transferring to the Project from SNO


An increasing number of School Newspapers Online (SNO) customers are making the switch to the Project for Better Journalism. Making the change is fast and easy, but there are some common questions educators have when making the switch.

This page provides answers to many of the questions schools have with switching to the Project from a SNO platform. Note: PBJ is not affiliated, endorsed by, or related to TBP Productions, LLP, SNO’s owner.

Is PBJ competing with SNO?

Did we contact you? Hear from our founder about our school outreach program and why we think reaching out to schools individually is beneficial.

Absolutely not. We respect the work that SNO does and, if we reject a school’s application to the Project, we often recommend SNO to them.

PBJ works in a different space–we provide not only a news website, but also additional support and services, as well as collaboration opportunities. Our cost model is radically different: we are completely free of charge and, as a non-profit, fundraise to cover operating expenses.

As a smaller organization with limited resources, it is also impossible for all schools to receive our services. That’s why we’re focused on providing value for schools that we can support–we only take on new schools if we are certain we can fund them for at least 4 years.

Why would I want to switch from SNO to the Project?

Easy– just ask our chapters. According to them, the biggest incentives come from these three tenets of the PBJ program: that it is free, non-profit, and mission-based.

While SNO can cost thousands, PBJ is free and non-profit.
Fundamentally speaking, SNO is a for-profit company that charges schools to host and maintain websites. The first year on SNO’s absolute cheapest plan starts at $600 dollars. But SNO also charges for each of its additional services. The charges add up:

  • Support for sports: $300/year. With PBJ: free.
  • Support for advertising: $50/year. With PBJ: free (and you keep all your profits).
  • Adviser training: $75/instance. With PBJ: free for life.
  • Training for your students: $75/instance. With PBJ: free for life.
  • “Advanced training” and “design improvements”: $150/instance. With PBJ: free.
  • Logo and header design: $150/instance. With PBJ: free.

We think these charges add up. For many schools in the United States, these charges–which easily add to thousands a year–are labored. For others, they are simply prohibitive.

PBJ can offer everything free of charge because we are funded by grants and donors, and supported by a network of volunteers who believe in the value–not profit–of student journalism. We save each of our schools thousands of dollars–and we’d love to do the same for you.

PBJ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Educators and administrators love saving money, but they also love placing their trust in an organization that cares. PBJ is an accredited non-profit; we are authorized by the IRS and receive regular donation flow from individuals and organizations. As required by law, we also publish financial reports and government filings online.

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.

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.

What’s so special about the PBJ platform?


Quite a bit. We offer a fully-featured online news platform that rivals the design and functionality of major news networks. We also support nearly all of SNO’s included features, and most of SNO’s extra cost, “value add” features:

  • A beautiful, award-winning design with plenty of customization: most newspaper advisers agree that PBJ’s platform design is superior to other solutions.
  • A customized version of WordPress: low to zero learning curve from SNO, and increased functionality and flexibility.
  • Site statistics and analytics by the day/week/month.
  • Support for advertising sold by you and your students: you keep all the profits.
  • A strong content ownership policy that makes clear we do not own student work.
  • Blazing fast servers, geographically distributed around the country.
  • Powerful and reliable technical support and services, including 24/7 monitoring.
  • New features periodically released to expand our functionality.

And then we go further, offering more than just a website:

  • Continuous support and assistance for you and your team — content training, website usage, and team-on-one phone and video calls.
  • Additional services, available when and if you want them: graphic editing, copy-editing, journalism training.
  • Schools are part of a nationwide network and can benefit from collaborative events: photo and art shows, literary discussions, interschool conferences, debates, etc.

Our “Project in a nutshell” introduction document also includes examples and screenshots. Staff members are also available for live demonstrations.

What does the migration look like?

We’ll coordinate with you to ensure there is no downtime of your site. You’ll be able to keep your domain name — we will transfer it from SNO and then pay for it going forward. All of this is handled for you seamlessly.

You can see the actual information we provide to our new chapters when they come to us; below, the general process that schools experience:

  • We set up their new PBJ site on a temporary domain so they can upload content, play around with customization, and change the look and feel.
  • We’ll schedule a 30-45 minute training call with a member of our team to answer questions one-on-one and walk through all our features. Most advisers have no issues with our platform but the extra guidance is helpful.
  • If there is already content that the publication would like to transfer, a team member will assist in moving content over.
  • If they already have a domain name, we can usually help move their domain over for them. If not, we’ll instruct advisers on exactly what information we need to initiate a domain transfer– including how to request a transfer code from their existing provider. In either case, a staff member will be assigned to each migration case to ensure seamless transfer. The website will not go down at any time. (See information on domain names and transfers.)
  • If there is not already a domain name, we’ll work with the school to find a .com that fits them. Then we’ll purchase it and maintain it for them free of charge.
  • When the school is ready to go live with their new website, we’ll switch to the new domain. They’re ready to go!

Ever want to leave PBJ? We’ll be sad to see you go, but we’ll work with you to provide full exports of your data — and we’ll even help you find a new home for your domain name. Our school chapter agreement also makes it clear that we do not own any of the student content.