Potential crisis at Berkeley High student paper is averted

The Jacket’s website’s lead story reports on its campaign for support

A potential crisis has been averted at the Berkeley High student newspaper, the Jacket, after its staff succeeded in persuading school administrators to categorize it as a two-period class. This means the 100-year-old publication can continue to be published on the same schedule and with the same number of staff.

“We can run the Jacket as usual this year. I am so relieved,” said Dharini Rasiah, the faculty adviser to the Jacket, whose allocated time to the paper had been cut back, putting the paper’s future in jeopardy, according to some of its editors.

The Jacket has around 130 staff, 35 of whom are editors, and is published every other week and online. Because it is run as a class, it requires a faculty adviser with the requisite number of hours to handle the number of students. After Rasiah’s course load was changed before the beginning of this academic year, Jacket staff feared they would need to slash staff numbers to around 40 which would prevent them from publishing as frequently, if at all.

A group of editors and writers at the paper, along with several parents and teachers, launched a campaign to rally support for the paper, which included taking their concerns to a BUSD Board meeting on August 22.

Rasiah met with Berkeley High Principal Pasquale Scuderi on Friday, the day after Berkeleyside published its story about the issue, which was picked up by Berkeleyside partner KQED. Rasiah said she thought the publicity had helped. On Sunday she contacted Berkeleyside to say that two full periods were being allocated to the Jacket, although an extra art class she has been assigned is still on the cards. “I will be teaching at 120% this year, with the Jacket as two of my periods,” she said. “Glad we can publish as usual!”

Tal August, one of the Jacket‘s two Managing Editors, said he was thrilled with the development. “I am ecstatic that we were able to reach an agreement with the administration, and look forward in the coming year to making sure the Jacket serves the community that supports it so well,” he said.

Berkeley High student newspaper calls for more support [08.23.12]

Berkeleyside publishes many articles every day. To see all our stories in chronological order, and read ones you may have missed, check out our All the News grid. 

Print Friendly
Tagged , ,
Please keep our community civil. Comments should remain on topic and be respectful.
Read our full comments policy »
  • jlmw94

    I am so happy about this! As a former Managing Editor of this marvelous publication, I am absolutely thrilled that others get the same opportunity for years to come! VIVA LA JACKET!

  • Completely_Serious

    Another way to have solved this crisis:  Ms. Dharini Rasiah announces her resignation, BUSD Board wrings it collective hands for months and months, then appoints TWO faculty advisors in her place!  I mean, it works for the Superintendent’s position, right?

  • PragmaticProgressive

    As long as by “wrings it collective hands,” you mean hires professional consultants, promises transparency, develops vague and unrealistic criteria, receives 60 resumes, interviews 10 highly qualified candidates, and then abruptly ends the transparency/accountability after failing to achieve consensus because of special interest pandering.  

  • The Sharkey

    Glad they found a way to keep the paper!

    Side note:
    35 editors for a high school newspaper? That seems pretty management-heavy.

  • Completely_Serious

     “That seems pretty management-heavy.”

    See comments, above, and previous articles about TWO superintendents.  It’s the way of government.

    OTOH, it’s a place for kids to get experience doing stuff, so maybe not such a bad thing, right?

  • PragmaticProgressive

    I think it’s a concession to the college admissions arms race.

  • Anonymous

    It’s too bad Berkeley voters aren’t generous enough to pass parcel taxes and bond measures in order to pay for these popular and relatively inexpensive programs.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Seriously. And a pity that there are only two fundraising groups to support the schools…

  • At-Risk Youth

    Yeah — I was hoping for a spot as Editor No. 36 on the Jacket, but they told me there just wasn’t enough funding.  Now I sell crack, pack heat, and live and die by my color.