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We’re above the fold

Teen columnist

Natalee Dawson

Every six weeks, the staff and editors of Salpointe’s Crusader newsmagazine gather in Room 425 to distribute the freshly printed and vaguely ink-scented products of our labor.

Then we wait. We wait until every hallway smells like ink, until the copies begin to disappear from their racks, until we hear teachers admonish students for reading The Crusader instead of their textbooks.

Very few things are more satisfying and frustrating than publishing a school newspaper.

It means ordering pizza and proofreading drafts at 9 o’clock at night while the rest of the school is in the bleachers, cheering for the football team.

The weekend, perhaps the most respected institution of youth, belongs to Adobe InDesign and rolling chairs, ordered pizzas and 2-liter bottles of Dr. Pepper from the store just down the street.

It is a beautiful, stressful, complex, caffeine-fueled experience.

The school newspaper is one of the tenets of the high school experience, and its reporters belong as much to the “Breakfast Club” archetypes as varsity football players do.

It is for this very reason that high school newspapers will most likely survive.

The same cannot be said for their mainstream counterparts. The newspapers, which school publications look to for inspiration, seem to be dying off, struggling in the strange push and pull of progress.

The exact beginning of the print industry is disputed.

Some sources say it started in ancient Rome and China with governmental announcements carved into stone and penned on silk.

Others argue that the modern newspaper first emerged in Germany in the 1400s.

Whenever and wherever it forged its auspicious beginnings, the newspaper has been a part of society for centuries.

Could this be the end of the story?

That seems to be a possibility. The economy is in a recession, making it hard for newspapers to raise enough money to print.

Plus, the easy accessibility of online information has made paper-and-ink copies seem like a thing of the past.

Still, we save newspapers, carefully clipping around the edges of what matters to us. We keep these shreds of history in albums, letting them yellow with time.

They tell us the stories we don’t always want to hear, and the ones that define our world. Some show us fire and smoke curling threateningly above city skylines. Others give us election night, the winner a silhouette against a fringe of confetti.

“This is what really happened, reported by a free press to a free people,” wrote Henry Steel Commanger. “It is the raw material of history; it is the story of our own times.”

A new set of soda-drinking student journalists will one day fill the spinning chairs of Room 425. There will be more pizza, more paper, more fresh ink.

And while that relative certainty is enough to ensure The Crusader’s future, the same might not be true for the mainstream print industry.

The raw material of our history is in jeopardy, and by the time we know how far the damage extends, it may be too late.

For now, we can only watch the headlines.

Natalee Dawson, a sophomore at Salpointe Catholic High School, is news editor of The Crusader school newspaper.

E-mail: nd-27@hotmail.com

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This blog page archives the entire digital archive of the Tucson Citizen from 1993 to 2009. It was gleaned from a database that was not intended to be displayed as a public web archive. Therefore, some of the text in some stories displays a little oddly. Also, this database did not contain any links to photos, so though the archive contains numerous captions for photos, there are no links to any of those photos.

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