Neighborhood Newspapers Can Be a Good Project for Kids

A young reader shares her devotion to the process of writing, organizing, and distributing neighborhood newspapers.

| September/October 1981

Lots of children, it seems to me, are bored much of the time after school and on weekends. But I'm not, because I run a neighborhood newspaper ...and I think my "job" is fun and constructive. One of the things I enjoy most about the journalistic project is that I have total control over what kind of paper I put out. Editing it is like running my own business. Children usually don't have the opportunity to try out new ideas, but I can with my own newspaper.

The idea for starting my first paper (I've done two neighborhood newspapers) came to me from a book called Eddie's Big Deal, by Carolyn Haywood, which I read when I was six years old. I lived in a group of townhouses in Eugene, Oregon then, and started a paper called Hot News. I handprinted every copy of the first issue. After that, a neighbor let me use her "ditto" machine for free. The purple-print duplicator could copy only on one side of a sheet, so the Hot News was a one-page newspaper. It came out once a week.

Later our family moved to Arroyo Grande, California. There I started a journal called the Tierra Street Hot News, which I distributed to the 23 houses on Tierra Street. A teacher who lived next door to us ran the paper off on a ditto machine at his school, so my cost of publishing was only the price of the duplicating paper.

Next, I enlarged my newspaper to cover two streets, and started calling it the 2 Street Press. By that time, the county school office had agreed to do my printing, by photo offset, if I'd pay for the paper. I was then able to tape photographs and children's drawings on the pages. And, since that machine worked by a process called duplex, I could print the 2 Street Press on both sides of my sheets.

After six months, I expanded the newspaper again, in order to cover three more streets, and I changed its name to the 5 Street Recorder. I passed the paper out for free and used my allowance to pay for the expenses. (It cost $1.50 to print 135 copies of each issue.)

In October of 1980, I expanded once more. Today the paper covers ten streets, comes out twice a month, and is named the Pike Press.  

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