Off The Press
June 25, 2013
By Kathleen R. Merrill
And The Beat will go on, with your help
The Beat team and I had to make some hard decisions a few weeks ago when we had an end-of-the-school-year meeting. Do we go forward? How do we rebuild the team? How do we get the funding to continue our teen journalism project?
The Beat is our monthly (during the school year) page by teens, about teens, for teens. The team — students from Issaquah, Liberty, Skyline and Eastside Catholic high schools — meets once a month to plan what to write about, and the students learn about journalism and newspapers long before they get to college. Some even then decide to study journalism, which always makes me proud.
The students write about serious things — suicide, immigrant students, the deadly choking game. They also write about fun things — new bands, student businesses, interesting classes and clubs, exchange students, philanthropic endeavors.
I sometimes hear people ask why they would read the teen page if they aren’t teens. At a presentation to the Kiwanis Club of Issaquah (we thank them for their support!) a couple of years ago, a member said it best, “I can find out what teens think about and care about, and it makes me feel young again.” Indeed!
We did decide to go on for the coming school year. That’s where you come in.
First, we need new team members from Liberty and Eastside Catholic high schools. (Every year, we lose students to graduation, but for the coming year, we now have no students from either of those schools.) Know a conscientious student who loves to write. Have him or her email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for an application.
We started four years ago with the three schools and then added Eastside Catholic. We would hate to backtrack at this point.
As important if not more so, we need financial assistance to keep this project going. While this newspaper gives us a substantial discount to print our page, The Beat is its own entity, and I and my students spend quite a bit of time fundraising to cover our printing costs.
When we first started, we had several large donors and grants, but those things have gone away as the economy has changed. This year, we started sponsorships with local businesses, and they get their name on our page and on our page on The Press website.
But we need more donors and funds. Every little bit helps. Can you donate just $20? Or even $10? Donate through PayPal on our section of the website at www.issaquahpress.com/donate-to-the-beat. We’ll mention your name on our page and site, if you wish.