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Keep B-CC High School's Student Newspaper Printing

B-CC students, taking a page from start-ups and entrepreneurs around the globe, launch a "crowdsourcing" campaign to save their student newspaper.

After 86 years in print, B-CC High School's The Tattler, one of the oldest high school school papers in the country, needs support to meet the rising cost of printing.

In many ways, The Tattler, published continually since 1926, has never been faster or stronger. Unfortunately it is also running on financial fumes.

Faculty advisor David Lapalito is at the helm of an extremely enthusiastic and driven staff of student editors and writers.  Rather than let The Tattler stop production, he charged the students with running the business just the way any corporate publisher would. Who is The Tattler audience? Where can revenue be generated? What creative strategy is available to keep the paper printing?

Lapalito explains, "Like so many professional and amateur newspapers, we are struggling to pay for what we love to do. Of course, we could say goodbye to color. We could go completely online. Or, we could print far fewer editions a year like so many other high schools have chosen to do. But we haven’t. Our school expects more. And, we want to deliver more; and more often."

Last month, Lapalito sent out this announcement to the school community: "We are sad to announce that we have to stop the presses for a while. We must invest our time and resources into fundraising so that we can keep this paper alive."

But the student publishers took this as a challenge and hope their efforts will incite the public investment needed to keep the business running.

Just this week, the students launched a crowdsourcing campaign aimed at spreading the world about The Tattler's plight.  The Tattler campaign, Help Keep the Tattler in Print, aims to raise the $5,500 to finance the remainder of the school year.  The Help Keep the Tattler in Print features a video appeal that was created, filmed and edited students adding to the power of their story.

"The Tattler has become more than just a school newspaper for our 2012-2013 staff. It has become something of which we are all extremely proud. Not long ago, The Tattler came out five times a year. We are currently on track to produce a new issue approximately every two weeks," Lapalito continues.  "We've had a lot of growing pains these last few years, but it has all been worth it to get to the point we’re at now. But we can’t stop here."

The Tattler staff still has an insatiable desire to take this paper to the next level. The Tattler editors explain, "All of us want more. We want more not just for us, but for B-CC, because a better Tattler means a better school. We know that the most difficult part of making this paper even greater will be picking up our work ethic, but even this can’t happen if we can’t find a way to balance our checkbook."

In addition to the Help Keep the Tattler in Print funding appeal, students will host a journalism night panel discussion on November 29 featuring prominent journalists discussing at 6 p.m.  Tickets for the reception and panel discussion can be purchased online at The Tattler Extra.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Janis November 25, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Why are this years students being penalized for the mismanagement of funds from previous years? If the Tattler was a true newspaper, they would be investigating the financial mismanagement that has been documented at BCC. Students should never be penalized for the failings of the administration. This is a new school year and this years' students deserve a fresh start without the debt of past administrators. http://www.scribd.com/doc/27634062/BCC-HS-IAF-Audit-052809 When the administrators don't obey the rules, they should be fined, not the students.
Janis November 25, 2012 at 06:27 PM
The 2009 BCC High School Audit (in comment above) was obtained by Louis Wilen of the Parents' Coalition through a Maryland Public Information Act request. This document was not voluntarily released by MCPS or the Board of Education.

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