The Berkeley Daily Planet received this letter from Rick Ayers, sponsor of the Berkeley High School’s award-winning newspaper: The Berkeley High Jacket
Dear Berkeley High Community,
We have just received the scorebook and review of the Berkeley High Jacket from the National Scholastic Press Association.
Once again, the students who put out Jacket have walked away with top honors - receiving an “All American” (the top!) honor rating with Marks of Distinction in Coverage and Content; Writing and Editing; Photography, Art, and Graphics; Layout and Design; and Leadership.
A few comments from the Judge who reviewed six issues of our papers over the summer:
“Excellent - really excellent - stands on school matters in every issue. Strongly voiced editorials. . . . A really fine sense of your responsibilities to student reader. Your editorials are well-reasoned, strong. . . . Keep up the excellent coverage you have on theater and music departments. . . (commendation for) piece on minority teacher need. . .. (commendation for) piece on arson, spread on teachers leaving. . . . really fine attention to news issues like ethnic slavery and arson. . .. (commendation for) piece on reactions to the arsons, pieces on School Board. . . . Vulgar head, November 24, p.2. . . . The writing in major articles is strong - based on solid investigation. . . . Some great active sports shots (photos). . . . Some of the photos are superb. Graphics are generally simple and clean. . . (commendation for columns being) visible and consistent issue to issue. . .. Pages are focused and balanced. Some clutter but not excessive amounts. . . . .”
And his final summary:
“A very fine paper. Lots of interesting, gutsy pieces in every issue.
“Editorials and news are your strengths. Some features are also good - theater and music. Sports writing needs some attention. Do consider using the front cover in a more traditional manner - to showcase major stories - like arson. It'll make your product look more like a real newspaper and not a magazine.”
The Jacket has developed a strong tradition over many years and the students - editors who lead the class and veteran writers, photographers, and business staffers - certainly keep each other to the standards we have developed.
The Jacket is also grateful to the administration which, despite the controversial issues that the paper has tackled, never wavered in its support for student press rights.
We are looking forward to a great paper in the year ahead.
Be sure to visit our web site at www.Jacket.org to see how you can support the Jacket by subscribing.
In other Jacket news, you may remember that a producer from Hollywood approached Jacket staffers concerning making a “made for TV” movie about the student investigative report on Mr. Reddy and indentured servitude.
The new development is that Disney has agreed with the producer to go ahead with this production.
We will have two writers visiting Jacket in September and getting to know the students, the culture of the class, and Berkeley High School.
The current schedule calls for the script to be done by January and possibly shooting in the spring.
We are looking forward to this project being a positive story on high school journalism as well as on activism for Indian immigrant rights.