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Columbia City High School
Alumni Association

600 N. Whitley St.
Columbia City, Indiana 46725

(260) 244-6136, Ext. 3459

School Newspaper Reborn

This article appeared in "The Post & Mail" on January 26, 2006:


High School Paper Reborn

By Jenica Schultz, Staff Writer


Columbia City High School's student newspaper has been resurrected.

In 1990, budget and technology restraints forced the newspaper, then known as The Eagle, to fold. Last year, advisor Lori Brehm started the student newspaper back up again, with the help of her student staff and the support of Principal Steve Doepker, who helped her create the school's first-ever newspaper class.

Aside from the 15-year lapse in publication, CCHS has had a student newspaper since the mid-1930s. Bob Brittain, who was the advisor when the paper folded, said having a newspaper production class makes a huge difference in creating the paper. When he was the advisor, it was difficult to create content and meet weekly deadlines when students were only able to meet after school.

“I guess maybe one of the biggest problems was students didn't have time to do it without a class,” Brittain said.

The paper switched to a biweekly print schedule six years before it folded.

Brehm asked Doepker for a newspaper class after being inspired by high school newspapers she saw at a Franklin College conference. Doepker told her she could start a class if enough students showed interest.

The new student newspaper, called The Talon, first printed last year. Money, one of the reasons The Eagle folded, has not been an issue for The Talon. The monthly paper costs $300 an edition to print, and it is entirely self-sufficient. Every issue is paid for by dollars raised through ad space sold by students. The cost production has lessened since Brittain advised the paper, in part because it is now designed on computers the school already had.

Senior Jessica Miller, Talon editor, said putting together the first edition of the paper was chaotic.

“I can remember the first paper last year. We were rushed, and you could tell that things weren't worked out. Now we have a feel for everything, and we know how things should look. It just comes together a lot easier,” she said.

Miller, who has edited the paper since it began, said her staff has learned a lot about writing and newspaper design. She has seen improvements in the paper since it started.

In its first year of production, The Talon won awards at Ball State University's High School Journalism Day for graphics and advertising.

“Basically we were all just a bunch of novices trying to see what would happen, and it worked,” Brehm said.

Brehm said she loves the chaotic, creative environment of the student newsroom.

“Kids tend to procrastinate. They all need to do something last minute, but they've always pulled it off. I think that's what it's like in a real newspaper room,” she said. “I love working in a busy atmosphere, and it's not your typical structured environment.”

Every other year, Brehm, who is also the yearbook advisor, takes her publication staffs to the Columbia Scholastic Press Association workshop at Columbia University in New York City. The student publication staffs are currently trying to raise $500 a piece for the trip this March. (Note:  CCHSAA contributed $100 for the trip, which was made.)

The workshop includes lectures on various journalism and newspaper production topics, from writing to design to advertising. Students will be in classes from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. They will also have the opportunity to explore some of New York City's cultural sites...  (Ed. Note:  Alumni wanting to make a donation to support the new school newspaper, should make checks out to CCHSAA & mail  to 600 N. Whitley St., Columbia City, IN 46725 with a note that it's for the school newspaper.) 

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© 2005 Columbia City High School Alumni Association      This page last updated 08/06/2012