Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

September 14, 2013

Teenage journalists take over Greentown

Eastern High School students now in charge of community newspaper

GREENTOWN — Three Eastern High School students and one English teacher volunteered to take over responsibilities for the community’s newspaper, the Greentown Grapevine, when the sole editor and reporter retired this year.

First-year teacher — and now newspaper editor — John Bahler said this will be the perfect learning lab for his students. What better way to make writing relevant for them?

It’s an opportunity to give some responsibility to students, he said. He remembers when he was in high school, teachers didn’t trust him or his classmates enough to let them take on real responsibility.

“As a student, I was frustrated that I was not out in the world accomplishing something,” he said.

Bahler’s students will get the chance he never had.

It won’t be easy, though. The expectations are high, higher than they would be for a normal school newspaper, the teacher said.

“You’re upping the ante with a community newspaper,” he said. “And Rachel set the bar pretty high.”

Rachel Jenkins helped form the Grapevine, a monthly publication, in 1993.

Sometime that year, the Greentown Economic Development Committee started talking about how having a local paper would be good for the town, Jenkins said in an article in the most recent issue of the Grapevine.

The town’s first publication was started in 1894. It was called the Gem, she reported. In 1937, the Gem became the Howard County News.

That newspaper lasted until 1983.

People in Greentown missed having their own publication after that, she said in her story.

“Many times I heard the lament, ‘I wish we had our Howard County News back,’” the story said.

Jenkins brought it back for them, albeit with a different name.

She had two people helping her with the layout for the first three months of production, but both decided it was too much work. After that, Jenkins did all of the layout and most of the reporting and writing herself, she said.

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