The next generation

I had the honor this week of visiting with the newspaper  club at Annapolis Middle School.

These kids had just celebrated the first issue of the school year of their newspaper, called What’s Up, Dragons?

The kids deserved credit for their ambition. The newspaper was a few pages printed out on 8-1/2-by-11-inch paper, complete with pictures. It sold for one Dragon Dollar. I was lucky to get a copy for free. 🙂

The young journalists had great story ideas: a feature on the school dance company that earned a trip to the Orange Bowl, profiles of the new principal and assistant principal, a news story on an author who will be visiting, items on school activities and two popular teachers sharing their own embarrassing stories from their middle school years.

Most of the students were into writing, but one was into photography and another was keen on layout.

It was so neat to see such young students jazzed about sharing news with their fellow students. By the time they’re grown up, maybe newspapers won’t be around in the same form. But there still will be many outlets for journalism, as well as a strong need for good news reporters, whatever the medium.

I remember how awesome it was to work on The Lion’s Tale, the newspaper at my high school, Howard High. It was my first taste of real journalism. (Making one issue of my own family newspaper at about age 10 doesn’t quite count.)

One of the best parts was when we distributed the newspaper and students would rush to get copies. (We could never afford to print as many copies as we would have liked, but maybe that helped as the scarcity caused demand to outstrip supply, forcing a perception that it was a hot commodity?)

Anyway, I’ll never forget my first story for The Lion’s Tale, when I was a junior. I wrote about how our school was slated to get portable classrooms the next year.  It was actually good, useful news to my classmates/readers. I wish I still had a copy.

I remember at the celebration of the first issue — maybe we had a pizza party? — one of the senior editors complimented me on my story. I was thrilled. And I’ve been at it ever since.

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