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Shasta newspaper to live another day, new editor says

Amanda Cope, the energetic junior who lost her chance at a being Shasta High School newspaper editor two weeks ago, said Friday evening that the newspaper is back.

"The district superintendent said he wanted to find a way to expand the program," she said. The superintendent is Mike Stuart. "He said he'd pay for the teacher's salary out of the district-level budget."

The newspaper, the Volcano, was shut down by Principal Milan Woollard after the outgoing senior editors published an image of a burning flag and wrote an editorial about free speech. Woollard also cited a lack of money for the newspaper program.

The closure brought nationwide news coverage, and Amanda's family phone has rung constantly since then with calls from reporters, newspapers, lawyers and the Student Press Law Center in D.C., Keith and Sarah Cope said.

Amanda, a junior, had just arrived home from swimming this afternoon and was getting ready to go out on a date to a movie, but she took a few minutes to talk.

How did she feel about what the previous editors did?

"First, my basic policy is, I have no problem with provocative or controversial subjects," she said. "But it has to be treated professionally and academically.

"So my response is twofold: Do it early in the year so there can be discussion, and don't do it rudely and crudely and put the words inside 'Because We Can.' I didn't appreciate that at all."

She got the news of the newspaper's closure two days before school was out.

"It made me so angry," she said.

She is very happy she persisted in asking for a second chance for her staff of 11 she had lined up.

"I had worked so hard to get everybody's schedule just so. They worked hard too."

Her first fall issue might center on this experience. "Maybe a really big paper," she said, twinkling.

Her parents are clearly proud of her success.

"She worked very hard on this," Sarah Cope said. "And just let it be noted, she's a girl."

She said Amanda is one of those students who does everything there is to do. She just cut off her very long strawberry blond curls to donate to Locks of Love, and Saturday she will keep a blood donation appointment.

Keith Cope said a Shasta College dean, Scott Gordon, told Amanda that if the high school district funding or commitment didn't come through for some reason, he'd find a way to develop resources through the college to keep the newspaper running.

8 comments:

  1. Good news, indeed. Go, Amanda!

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  2. Thank you, Mike Stuart.
    Go Amanda and staff!

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  3. Let me try that again.
    Thank you, Mike Stuart.
    Go Amanda and staff!

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  4. Hurray for newspapers, journalism... and blogs!

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  5. As a casual fan of newspaper design (having spent something like 23 years working at newspapers)I thought the Volcano looked pretty good. I would have picked up a copy if I was a young Shasta wolf.

    The flag burning thing was a little over the top but that's part of the beauty of student journalism. I wish the Lance had half the spirit of the Volcano.

    I join the chorus in giving kudos to young Amanda and wish her the best next year.

    And Mike Stuart deserves his props for helping to allow cooler heads to prevail.

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  6. This is good news. I hope that Mike has the power to see it through seeing as how he is only the superintendent for another 17 days.

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  7. I hope other local merchants will join me in offering support by way of advertising in the Volcano to help provide the needed funding to keep the paper going.
    I thought we'd settled this whole flag burning thing in the 60's, 70's, 80's... Is it 1956 again? Kids burn flags. Let's be glad that there are some young people who still feel passionate about something other than themselves. Let's support people who say what they think and are willing to put themselves out there - for any reason at all. Lets keep school newspapers and encourage kids to grow up and be journalists. We here in Redding know all too well what happens when all of the journalists are gone (read outsourced)...

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  8. Hooray for free speech and what happens when cooler heads prevail.

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