Making a permanent impression since 1994

Latest issue

7 years ago:

True punk is back

All issues

Who we are


Tattoo blog

The Tattoo is always looking for talented teens!

X Trials | Katrina journals | Teen suicideTeen pregnancy |  School violence | Travel | Journals | Cartoons | Awards | Insider's Guide | Contact us


Thursday, March 30, 2006

Good news! Reporter released in Iraq

After 82 days in captivity, American reporter Jill Carroll was freed today.
She is apparently in good shape, all things considered.

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Tattoo is HUGE

Tattoo advisors Steve Collins and Jackie Majerus with Samantha Perez, center, at the Scholastic Press Forum, American International College, Springfield, Mass.

Among the awards The Tattoo picked up at the Scholastic Press Forum this week was one for its founders. Yes, Jackie Majerus and Steve Collins were also singled out for something special.

They picked up the Dean Milton Birnbaum Award targeted at journalism educators.

The dean of American International College's communications department, Will Hughes, said he knew of no two people who had done more last year to help young journalists.

He praised The Tattoo for its stellar year, which included 41 printed issues and much more published online.

"It's a huge thing and I think it's going to get huger," Hughes said.

We think so, too.

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Tattoo writers, photographers capture Scholastic Press Forum prizes

For the first time ever, The Tattoo won a photography contest -- twice!

Florida teen Josh Gales took first place in this year's Scholastic Press Forum competition and another Florida teen, former Connecticut resident Eric Simmons, got an honorable mention. Both took hurricane-related pictures.

Nebraska teen Zach Brokenrope won two first-place awards, for columns and for his profile of a clockmaker who conceived a birth control clock back in the 1960s.

Minnesota teen Minha Lee won in the news category for her story about the impact of three deaths on a high school class there.

John Elfed Hughes, who lives in Wales, got a first place for news features for his story about the closure of a 400-year-old school that he attended.

An English teen, Hayley Slade, got an honorable mention for her first-person essay "That was my double decker bus" about the terrorist bombings of the London transport system last summer.

Links to all of the winning stories and pictures -- and Samantha Perez's Hurricane Journals, too -- are available by following this link to The Tattoo's web site:

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Samantha Perez wins top writing award

Massachusetts newspaper story about Samantha Perez (link is below).

Tattoo writer Samantha Perez in Springfield, Mass., with just a little bit of snow falling.

Not only did Louisiana teen Samantha Perez win The Professor Mel Williams Award in the 36th annual Scholastic Press Forum sponsored by American International College. She also got to collect it in person in Springfield, Mass.
So Perez, and her parents, came north for a crazy 16 hours in New England. She got to fly in a plane for the first time, sleep in a big hotel bed where her feet didn't hang off the end and take an endless hot shower. And, of course, she got to meet her faraway Tattoo advisors for the first time.
The prize she collected -- for the best teen journalism of 2005 -- was a much-deserved recognition of the quality of her work on her Hurricane Journal under nearly impossible circumstances.
Let me let someone else tell the impact of her story. Here's what a Waterbury, Conn. high school paper advisor posted on her blog when she got home from the March 15 ceremony where Perez was honored:
In the expansive auditorium ... Dr. Will Hughes, Chair of the Communications Department, stunned me and nearly everyone else in attendance when he took the floor.
"We had 3,600 entries, from as far west as Ohio, and down to Louisiana and Virginia," he said. Gulp. Then he introduced a girl who lost her clothes, her house, her friends, her belongings, her school, her street--basically everything except her parents, a girl who wanted to be a journalist and had just been chosen Editor in Chief of her high school newspaper August 2005, days before the hurricane struck.
She lost that too.
But somehow she started writing, and writing articles in journal form that were printed by [The Tattoo], articles she sent from a public computer.
They called her onto the stage, this average-looking girl in a plaid skirt and dark turtleneck who the college flew up from Lousiana where her family found a trailer.
They gave her the Newswriting Award, and the only words she said--in a very quiet voice--made everyone's eyes tear.
"I lost everything."
"And there's only one thing to do: go forward with your life."
Then she sat down with her parents, the only three things each of them own.
I was humbled; this was the quality and caliber of our competition, students who knew their purpose and against all odds used the written word and pictures to show us how good or bad life can be, and how to never forget how good we truly have it.
... Remember that when you go to bed, or work or school after reading this, a student journalist like Samantha Perez who won the SPF News Writing award and all those displaced from the hurricane still have nowhere to go.
Perez also led a couple of seminars where she told her story in greater depth.
Here are links to the stories that appeared in The Bristol Press and the Springfield Republican:
Teen wins award for stories (Springfield Republican)
Television and radio stations interviewed Perez, too. But we don't have links to their stories, unfortunately.
We're so glad at Tattoo Central that we got the chance to meet Perez and her parents. They're good people. We're appreciative of the contest for bringing us together and to a New York reader who paid the airline fares to make it possible for the Perez's to come to Connecticut.
This has been one of the happiest weeks we've had at The Tattoo.
Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Six months after Katrina, The Tattoo remains on the story.

In a new issue published today, The Tattoo continues to focus on the Katrina story.
Don't miss the latest installment of 17-year-old Samantha Perez's breathtaking Hurricane Journal, the best thing in print about the evacuee experience.
Also in the new issue is Florida teen Josh Gales' look back at his week helping with the recovery effort in Louisiana and Mississippi shortly after the storm. He recalls the devastation -- and shows some of it in his photographs -- and also takes note of the strength of the people who made it through.
We encourage you to check out their work at

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Halls of Shame, Part 5

Thanks to the Student Press Law Center, we have learned of another school superintendent who deserves a hallowed place in our Halls of Shame.
In Port Hope, Michigan, Superintendent Scott Belt is doing what he can to make sure the student paper at Port Hope Community School doesn't report the news.
Belt said the paper is only supposed to publish 'positive' stories
''It's always been just to give a positive outlook and to be a PR-type tool for the school,'' he said.
But let's give credit to school board member Stan Shipp, who's not happy with Belt's oversight of the student paper. Shipp told the Student Press Law Center he worries the students enrolled in the journalism class are not getting real lessons in journalism.
''The As and Bs our students are earning aren't the same as the As and Bs other students are earning,'' Shipp said. ''They really don't teach newspaper. They teach newsletter.''
His wife, Linda Shipp, said when she was the Star Gazer adviser three years ago, Belt sometimes accessed rough drafts of stories from the journalism class computer hard drive before she had a chance to read them.
''He'd get frustrated and tell the kids he didn't like the story,'' Shipp said. ''I was being censored and the kids were being censored.''
Would that more educators thought like the Shipps, and a whole lot fewer took Belt's ridiculous stance in favor of only 'positive' news.
Teaching censorship is positively un-American.

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Let journalists do their jobs

It's looking ever more like the Bush administration is ready to go to war with the press.
The other day, Washington Post reporter Dan Eggen turned out an insightful news story that detailed the ongoing effort to target journalists who are ferreting out what Bush is doing behind closed doors.
''The efforts include several FBI probes, a polygraph investigation inside the CIA and a warning from the Justice Department that reporters could be prosecuted under espionage laws,'' Eggen reported.
Imagine seeing journalists hauled into court on espionage charges for having the guts to dig out the dark secrets of an administration that enjoys operating in the shadows rather than the sunshine. That's where this is heading.
Listen to what Bill Keller, the executive editor of The New York Times had to say: ''There's a tone of gleeful relish in the way they talk about dragging reporters before grand juries, their appetite for withholding information, and the hints that reporters who look too hard into the public's business risk being branded traitors. I don't know how far action will follow rhetoric, but some days it sounds like the administration is declaring war at home on the values it professes to be promoting abroad.''
While The Tattoo is unlikely to find its teen reporters hauled before grand juries, it has as much interest as anyone in defending and expanding the First Amendment's protection for a free press.
Let's stand up for American values and defend a free press here even as we encourage the rest of the world to follow our lead.
There’s nothing in history that's done more to make sure leaders are accountable than a boisterous, noisy, scrambling gang of journalists looking for scoops and determined to stick it to the powerful.
Instead of assaulting the journalists who provide crucial information to the public, the president should be reconsidering programs and policies that he's afraid to let Americans know about. There's a place for secrecy, surely, but it ought to be a small and carefully considered place, not the norm.
President Bush, reporters are not your enemy. The enemy is.

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Cartoon riots

Since the Danish cartoon riots hit the headlines a few weeks back, much of the world has watched with something close to astonishment as mobs burned embassies and rioters wound up dead because of their zeal to protest. To those of us in the news business, it all seems so odd. To us, if you really don't like a cartoon, the proper response is to write a letter to the editor. If you're truly angry, you might even call some harried editor to scream a little. But riots over a cartoon?
But we're also eager to understand what it is all about, to see why this issue has unleashed such fury, to try to bridge what at first glance is a wide chasm between the Enlightenment-based societies of the West and the Muslim world.
Yaffa Fredrick, a New Jersey teen, is the first of our writers to take a crack at the issue, with an opinion column published today that wonders how come Jews got dragged into this whole mess and why they have been so silent about it.
While we appreciate her words, we'd like to hear from many other teens, whatever their perspective on the raging controversy. Was the Danish newspaper right or wrong? If the Muslim rage is acceptable, why is it? Is there something about all of this that isn't being said? What does it mean for young people who are soon to take leadership roles in this crazy old world of ours? We're eager to hear all viewpoints, to publish teens who have something important or interesting to say.
Meanwhile, catch Fredrick's piece at, and, if you're a teen, consider jumping into the fray. We take teens seriously at The Tattoo and firmly believe the whole world should as well.

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Fashion advice from The Tattoo? You betcha.

New Jersey teen Sarah Cunningham weighs in today with solid fashion advice for girls who want some flair, but don't want to drop a bundle. Check out her work at:

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Go to India with The Tattoo

For our 150th printed issue -- my how time flies! -- Tattoo writer Wesley Saxena takes readers to the Taj Mahal and other interesting spots in India. But more than that, he captures the flavor of the country -- fiery food, beggars, cows, lucky goats, unlucky snakes, aggressive monkeys, rickshaws, horse carts, dirt roads, crazy drivers, ancient ruins and so much more.
Saxena makes a pretty good tour guide. Go along with him at Just click on the Taj Mahal picture to take you straight to his account.

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

CAPT: Cold-hearted, Atrocious, Pernicious Test

By Joe Keo/ The Tattoo

Tattoo writer Molly Horan could tell something was up at school when administrators suddenly began to care whether she had breakfast. Yes, there's nothing like statewide standardized tests to make principals and teachers care a little more than usual about students drifting off before lunch. The CAPT tests get underway in Connecticut today. Check out Molly's story about them at

By the way, feel free to comment on it -- or testing in general -- here on The Tattoo Blog.

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The movies Oscar forgot....

Check out Dan Mecca's new piece on five movies that the Academy shouldn't have overlooked in this year's Oscar showdown. If nothing else, it'll give you some idea of films to catch on DVD.
You can find his review at

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

WebSTAT - Free Web Statistics