By: Mark Fitzgerald
When former newspaper owner Rowland “Reb” Rebele read in Burt Dragin’s San Francisco Chronicle Op-Ed column that state budget cutters planned to effectively kill Oakland’s historic high school newspapers, he got angry ? and inspired.
Dragin, who heads the journalism department at Oakland’s Laney College, noted that the victims would include Oakland High’s The Aegis, which was established in 1886 and reputedly published Jack London as a schoolboy. The savings? A mere $6,000 per paper.
Rebele owned the thrice-weekly Paradise (Calif.) Post for 20 years before selling to MediaNews Group in 2003. “I made good money in newspapers,” he says, “and I figured I could pony up something like $40,000 for the four affected high schools … [and] help them become self-sustaining.” He adds, “It’s the best reaction I’ve ever gotten to anything I’ve written.”