Sterling High School’s student news publication takes on new look

This is the "above the fold" look of the Sterling Cub Reporter (Vol. 6, Issue 1), which debuted on Oct. 9, 2019.

About six years ago, as a journalism teacher and adviser at Sterling High School in Sterling, Kan., I launched a monthly news publication, part the Sterling Student Publications that includes the Cub Yearbook.

It began life as The Cub Reporter, a glossy newsmagazine. This year, as I’m still the journalism adviser there in addition to my full-time duties at Sterling College, I decided to make a change in the format.

Now, The Cub Reporter is a monthly newspaper. It consists of eight pages, four of which are in color, and this decision was driven by both cost and opportunity.

Here is the complete explanation and overview of this change I wrote as a letter to the editor in the first issue, which came out Oct. 9, 2019:

It’s here. The latest installment of the Sterling Cub Reporter, which is the first issue of this school year.

As you can see, it looks and feels a little different. This year, we’ve decided to go away from the glossy, magazine-style and adopted newsprint. 

This choice wasn’t made easily. We loved working on a professional-style magazine. However, producing a newspaper affords us a lot of new options and opens doors to better serve you, our readers.

Primarily, this format provides us more room to tell the stories of Sterling High School and the Sterling community.

As you can see in this issue, with eight pages of a newspaper, we can pack in a lot more coverage. That means we can provide more depth in our reporting. We don’t have to make as many of the tough decisions about what goes into each issue because we have room to cover more. 

A secondary reason for transitioning to newsprint is the cost. We can produce a larger newspaper for less money than we could with the magazine. That helps our bottom line, but this will also provided added benefit to the generous advertisers that support our publications.

For the money, we get many more copies of a newspaper than we could afford with the magazine. That means we will be able to put The Cub Reporter out in the community on a regular basis.

This provides the advertisers with a better opportunity to have their messages appear in front of more people.

It also allows the students to experience journalism in a more real-world setting. Now, their work isn’t just going to be seen by students, facutly and staff of high school. Now, any and all members of the Sterling community can pick up a copy and read all about it.

That’s important for student journalists. The best way to improve is to be constantly producing content for a wide audience with diverse interests and needs.

Overall, this change will be a positive one for The Cub Reporter and the overall journalism program at Sterling High School. It will give students more practice with reporting and writing, and that’s what scholastic media is for — to learn the ropes and start to improve.

Sure, mistakes will still slip through, but hopefully those mistakes get fewer and further between. Or, at least, new mistakes are being made each time.

If anyone has any questions about this new direction we are embarking upon, I would love to discuss it. Feel free to reach out.

Just remember, print isn’t dead.

Todd Vogts, CJE :: Journalism Adviser

Overall, I’m super excited for this change. I’m a huge proponent of printed product, and my background is in newspaper journalism. I’m excited to see where this can take my program, and I look forward to seeing my small staff of four students develop this new iteration of a valuable teaching tool.


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About toddvogts 834 Articles
Todd R. Vogts, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of media at Sterling College in Kansas. Previously, he taught yearbook, newspaper, newsmagazine, and online journalism in various Kansas high schools, and he ran a weekly newspaper in rural Kansas. He continues to freelance as a professional journalist from time to time. Also, Vogts is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the Journalism Education Association (JEA), and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), among others. He earned his Master Journalism Educator (MJE) certification from JEA in 2022. When he’s not teaching or writing, he runs his mobile disk jockey service and takes part in other entrepreneurial ventures. He can be reached at or via his website at