Does your student media site look something like this: http://www.fhn.fhsd.k12.mo.us/commarts/studentpublications/thepaper
If it does, that’s a problem.
It’s crucial, especially in student media, that the URLs are short and memorable so students in school can talk about it and lock it in their brains. Heck, you can’t even really get the above URL on a shirt for advertisement unless you are going to wrap it around all sides of the shirt.
It makes sense to use the free district space if you’d like. That’s fine. But you could purchase a much simpler name like FHNpaper.com from a site like GoDaddy and then redirect the link to your site.
You could go to Godaddy.com and buy the URL (web site name) of something like www.FHNpaper.com. That would set you back only $9.99 (cheaper if you get a code from Fatwallet.com). Once you buy the URL, you can go into your account on Godaddy and redirect www.FHNpaper.com to your school’s actual site. It’s kind of like call forwarding. When you forward your house calls to your cell phone, any call to your house phone will go directly to your cell phone. This is the same thing. When people type in your URL, it will automatically redirect them to the long, 107 character site name that you have.
You keep your free hosting and they can find you more easily.
Want more: Most of the time, wherever you purchase your URL from will help you redirect it. For some technical ways to do it, here is an article by SELFSEO. Or you could see what Wikipedia says about URL redirection.