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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.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tiger Scouts, tomorrow's news consumers, get a taste of The Saratogian newsroom

Tiger Scouts Colin Drake, Matthew Digeso,
Addison Sperry, Wade Fresh and Kyle Gordon
work on their communications patch
at The Saratogian Jan. 8, 2013.

Newspaper people love talking about their business. Even with 6- and 7-year-olds. This evening a few of us at The Saratogian got to talk about our work with a handful of Tiger Cubs in a quest for their communications patch.
I think the most popular staffer was graphic artist Holly Bowers, because part of her job is piecing together the Sunday comics, with which almost all the kids were familiar.
Holly gets a sneak peak at the daily and weekend comics and puts together the layers of drawings to create a color image (learning the primary colors really does come in handy). “Bizarro” is one of her favorites; mine, too.
One boy asked to snag a comics section on her desk; another tried to read the Jan. 13 comics on Holly’s screen. Not so fast, fellas. Tell your parents: two bucks on Sunday for that and a lot more.
Graphic artist Holly Bowers was popular with the
Tiger Scouts, who got a preview of the Sunday comics
The kids were also enthralled by Michael Cignoli and Christopher Maley in the sports department. The youngsters knew their stuff — at least one followed the Phantoms, the American Hockey League team in Glens Falls that Mike covers, and they were familiar with some of the professional athletes Chris called up on his screen from The Associated Press.
They also had good questions for photographer Ed Burke, who showed them pictures he took of skiers for an upcoming feature.
Fifteen-plus years ago, a Saratogian tour would include the printing press then in the basement and the giant camera that was used to photograph pages; those negatives would then be turned into metal plates to load onto the press.
Ever since we began transmit pages electronically to the printing press in Troy, I started showing young visitors the four-color metal plates that go on the press. But I didn’t bother with them tonight, though the parents usually find them interesting.
Chris Maley gives Tigers a peek at
sports photos from the Associated Press.
These Tigers were familiar with print newspapers, and all had been “in the newspaper” at one point or another. But they were equally familiar with online newspapers. And iPads. And Facebook. Some even knew Twitter.
The news consumers we are grooming are comfortable with the Internet. They take it for granted. They will not be nostalgic about inky hands with their morning coffee. But they will, I am confident, want the news.  
The Tigers went home with an assignment: Prepare a “5 Questions” feature like the one that runs daily in The Saratogian and email it to me for publication. It’s only right to do a little journalism if you’re going to earn a communications patch.  


Anonymous Nancy Roberts said...

Thanks, Barbara,

for making our annual visit to The Saratogian so fun and informative! Every year, the boys seem more sophisticated about social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Who knows what new media will be invented by the time they might go on to subscribe to news products themselves or to work in journalism. Although they'll probably never have the experience of delivering paper copies of newspapers, you're right that their interest in getting the latest news already seems strong. That's perennial.

Thanks again, Nancy Roberts (Tiger Cub leader)


January 8, 2013 at 10:25 PM 

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