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Pitching the press to Kinnaird pupils
Many thanks to Denise Currie and her grade 3 class at Kinnaird Elementary for the friendly hospitality on Thursday, Oct. 3. On behalf of everybody at the Castlegar News/West Kootenay Advertiser, I'm grateful for the interest of the students and their social studies teacher, and the invitation to their classroom to talk about how a community newspaper works.
It wasn't quite a full class that day as a number of kids had headed out of town to take part in a run, but the occupants of about 20 desks were ready to ask questions and listen politely to answers.
Familiar with the News from the weekly deliveries to their homes, the kids were well-prepared.
The kids were keen to find out about the number of people involved in the production of the paper… its circulation number (6,700), where it's printed (Penticton)… where the raw paper and ink are accessed (in large quantities from industrial suppliers, was the best available answer at the moment).
The class was interested in the job descriptions of the people pictured on the so-called 'boiler plate' – the strip with all the faces at the bottom of page six.
The software used to paginate, or lay out, the paper (Adobe InDesign) was described to the youngsters who seemed fairly savvy with the concept. They asked what kind of computers are used and nodded respectfully at the answer of the Macs in use at the Castlegar News as with so many other publishing applications.
But these Kinnaird kids also wanted to know who chooses what goes in the paper, and why. They found out how seriously such decisions are taken, and how things like legal problems can and have popped up with some papers after bad decisions.
"Ever been sued?" a number of voices chirped to a happily negative reply.
The forum was rounded out by questions involving press deadlines… transport of papers and the number of carriers (40) needed to distribute papers to the people of Castlegar.
It was a genuine pleasure to spend close to an hour with this group, who succeeded in putting a good sized bug in my ear about possible future content… namely a kid's page. One boy had even worked out the basics of a plan for the appointment of sub-editors in each school to solicit and compile material (text and/or art) to be voted on at regular intervals… with the students' choice being submitted for publication… one or two per school, per week. The response to the group: get in touch, whatever the idea is… send it along and it'll be considered.
Thanks again to the grade 3 social studies class and Mrs. Currie, it was a pleasure to meet you.