Posted onMay 5, 2009|Comments Off on Inklings In The Vanguard
Newspapers across the country are scrambling to be relevant in the digital age.
Inklings already is.
The award-winning Staples paper took a giant step into cyberspace Friday. Students launched a re-design of InklingsNews.com, a journalistically sharp and graphically handsome website that will make it — along with “06880” and WestportNow.com — a prime source for breaking Westport news, photos and features.
Since 1930 the student-run paper has covered the usual school stuff: sports, new teachers, cafeteria food. In recent years it’s been a bit edgier, examining topics like Adderall abuse, condoms and, most recently, God. But printing twice monthly, its news was not always hot.
Inklings has been online for a few years, but only recently has the goal been a 24/7 news source. A freshman — Logan Rosen — made it happen.
His first re-design was good, but — in tune with Staples’ spirit — Inklings wanted “great.” Advisor Steve Rexford and staff were ready to pay a hefty sum to a company that creates professional-looking sites for school papers.
Logan said he could do better.
Using a free WordPress theme, he took just 3 weeks to create the new site. It’s fast, user-friendly, even fun. And very 21st-century.
Editor-in-chief Victor Hollenberg hopes to leverage Inklings’ large staff to cover every nook of the school, along with town issues.
Website editor Lexi Preiser wants InklingsNews to be “the go-to news source for Staples students.” Her goal is to hear the buzz: “Hey, did you read InklingsNews last night?”
Inklings is not finished. Next year they plan to integrate the site with other school-based technology, including hallway TVs. They may add video and other multimedia.
And — like good journalists in any medium — they hope to scoop the competition. As in Westportnow.com. And “06880.”
Posted onMay 4, 2009|Comments Off on Teens Pedal For Progress
Yesterday’s weather did not dampen the spirits of three Westport teens.
Lizzie Leonard, Will Hardy and Ned Hardy spent the afternoon collecting over 70 used bicycles. Soon they’ll be sent overseas, for use by needy villagers as crucial transportation for education, employment and healthcare.
Ned — an 8th grader at Bedford — said he enjoyed “working for a good cause. And it’s fun!”
Will — a Staples junior — noted that through the Pedals For Progress organization, “there’s a micro-economy effect.”
Staples senior Lizzie added: “I love my bike. It’s my favorite possession. Helping other people get bikes makes me happy.”
Just one more way Westport teenagers manage to spend some of their free time.
Will Hardy, Lizzie Leonard and Ned Hardy break down bikes for efficient shipping overseas.
That “duh”-inducing advice has been drilled into teenagers’ heads ad nauseam. From all indications, they listen. Many do designate drivers. They often refuse to get in the car with someone who’s been drinking.
But “many” and “often” are not “everyone” and “always.” Teenagers are human beings. We all screw up.
Tomorrow, Westport inaugurates a “Safe Rides” program. Every Saturday, from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., high school students can call 203-383-9492. Dispatchers, navigators and drivers — working out of donated space at Christ & Holy Trinity Church, with an adult supervisor — will give callers safe, confidential rides home.
Nearly 100 Staples students, and several adults, have been trained to run the program. It is a testament to Alex Dulin, a junior who worked tirelessly since moving to Westport last fall to make it happen.
Safe Rides is not a new concept. There are programs nationwide, as far away as Alex’s home town of Mercer Island, Washington and as close as Darien.
Westport had one of the first, in the 1980s. It ended after deteriorating into a free taxi service.
Like any good idea, it has detractors. Some people say “Safe Rides” implies acceptance of teenage drinking — even encourages it by providing free transportation to drinkers.
But as 44-year-old, abstinence-education-only grandmother Sarah Palin proves, hoping teenagers act a certain way does not always ensure they will.
(There is another scenario: “Safe Rides” could be used by a teen babysitter uncomfortable with being driven home by a parent who had too many cocktails. Yep, that happens too.)
Ultimately, every argument against “Safe Rides” fails because of this: If it saves 1 life, it is worth it.
We’ll never know whose life was saved — whether it was a drunk driver, a passenger, or an innocent person in the other lane.
Nor will we know if the life saved was your child’s. Or your own.
So write this number down: 203-383-9492. Give it to every teenager you know.
And thank Alex Dulin and her crew of volunteers for looking out for all of us.
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