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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Kids Write the Darndest Things

I had the pleasure the other morning of speaking with the fourth- and fifth-graders at Lake Avenue Elementary School who come to school an hour early every Monday to put out a newspaper. One thing they learned: Criticism sometimes crops up in the most unexpected places.
A "What's Hot and What's Not" feature prompted a parent to complain to the principal that it inadvertently encouraged students to judge one another by the brand names of their clothing.
The next edition included a letter to the editor from the principal mentioning the parent's comment, describing the pros of wearing uniforms, and asking for reader thoughts about that suggestion.
The editor then responded about why she thought uniforms were not a good idea and nothing that "an article that stirs up a lot of discussion really helps a paper get noticed."
That's true for a daily community newspaper as well. Although "getting noticed" is not the primary goal, last month's publication of city salaries stirred up a lot of discussion. Coming up: School salaries. We have Freedom of Information requests filed with several local districts.


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