School's paper get national recognition

Broadneck High publication given a First Class rating

December 24, 2006|By SUSAN GVOZDAS | SUSAN GVOZDAS,Special to The Sun

The Tribruin can growl.

For a recent issue, Broadneck High School's student newspaper conducted a sting, dispatching underage teens to a dozen local gas stations and convenience stores to see whether they could buy cigarettes.

A couple of stores offered to ring them up. The paper didn't name them - it didn't want to guide teens who smoke in their direction - but reported the findings to the store managers.

Articles like that have students snapping up the paper when it's delivered each month. Teachers have to tell them to put it away during class.

"People are hiding them in their desks and reading them," said Melissa Kardish, the paper's production editor.

The National Scholastic Press Association was also captivated, awarding the 2005-2006 Tribruin a First Class rating with marks of distinction in content and layout and design, and placing it seventh in the Best in Show category at its annual conference.

The Tribruin - which means three bears, a tribute to the school's bear mascot - competed with other papers of fewer than eight pages.

Judges said that they were impressed with the coverage of campus news and that the graphics and variety of photos "are far better than what's seen in most scholastic publications."

Seven students paid their own way to attend last month's conference in Nashville, Tenn., with newspaper adviser Karen Hott.

"It's a nice recognition of the hard work of what the kids are doing," Hott said.

The 83-year-old paper has won top honors in previous years. Hott said that she offers suggestions but that most of the story ideas come from the students. Neither she nor the principal approves ideas.

"I try to instill in them the values that I think a journalist should have," said Hott, an English teacher. "If I think something is a bad idea, I tell them what I think the consequences might be."

About 30 students meet for newspaper class every other day for 90 minutes.

When students return from winter break, there will be an additional newspaper class. The two classes will rotate sections of the paper, Hott said.

This year, the Tribruin began using color on its front, back and several inside pages.

The paper also has been experimenting with its design, using different fonts and column sizes. The staff draws inspiration from daily newspapers delivered to the school.

Students have also worked to improve the content of the paper, said Matt Barnes, a senior and the assistant editor.

The paper has run an article featuring the rivalry between Broadneck and Severna Park high schools that developed in the late 1970s and produced a report on nine Broadneck students to watch.

Barnes said the staff tried to select students whom most people would not expect.

"We wanted to find a way to tell stories about students who aren't in sports or in musicals," he said.

Nick Kirby, a 17-year-old senior, praised the staff's dedication, especially when staying at school until 10 p.m. during the last few days before publication.

Kirby often leads the class in directing what angles reporters should pursue and brainstorming story ideas for the monthly broadsheet.

After three years on the Tribruin staff, including as a reporter, he said, "What I enjoy more is the leadership role."

Kardish, a 15-year-old junior, does not foresee a career in journalism but said her experience as a reporter has forced her to be more outgoing and helped her discover more about herself.

"I enjoy talking to people and expanding my way of thinking," Kardish said.

"It has made me more comfortable with who I am and who other people are."

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