Schools

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.

Related:
Berkeley High student newspaper calls for more support [08.23.12]

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