Teen Columnists Help California Paper Grow Younger

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By: Lesley Messer

In an attempt to get the community — especially younger readers — more invested in the newspaper, The Daily Review (Hayward, Calif.) is looking for local teenagers to work as columnists for the paper.

?The newspaper has been doing this on and off since the 1970s, but the need for it has certainly gotten more urgent as time as gone by,? said the paper’s editor, John Bowman, adding that only in the last few years has the idea been fully revived. ?We’re doing everything we can to appeal to a younger readership base. To me, as long as most editors are my age, you have a hard time of really doing that. No matter how we try, it’s we the older folk, talking to you. This is why we give the writers themselves extremely wide latitude with what they’re writing about.?

Bowman explained that for the most part, the writers are juniors and seniors from local high schools. They’re invited to discuss any topic they feel is appropriate.

?This past week one [column] was about the pressure of taking courses and doing the right things as early as your sophomore year to get into the right college,? Bowman said. He added that in the past, columns have been about everything from teen suicide to what it’s like to learn English to popular television shows and music.

One column runs every Monday and the teens are compensated $25 for each story they write.

Bowman said that from what he understands, the column has been well-received and the paper plans to continue publishing them in the future.

And the teen columns are not only popular among other teenagers, but with older readers in their 40s and 50s too.

?It gives a parent great insight,? said Bowman. ?Kids are writing things in these columns that they probably don’t talk over with their parents.?

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