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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

36 Tattoo writers win in professional journalism contest

We're proud that once again The Tattoo has earned a pile of awards in the annual contest sponsored by the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists.
Michel Lee, a California staffer, picked up four different awards while Nebraska writer Zach Brokenrope walked off with a trio of them.
We captured a first-place award in the "In-Depth Series" category for ''Fleeing Katrina,'' an entry that featured the extensive work of Louisiana 17-year-old Samantha Perez as well as photographs, cartoons and art by Josh Gales of Florida, Lee, Perez, Brent Altemus of Lousiana and Justin Skaradosky of Connecticut.
A piece by Jesus Diaz, a New Orleans 14-year-old who described riding out the massive hurricane in a hotel, was also honored as part of the winning entry.
The Tattoo nabbed second place awards in the arts and entertainment, feature series and columns categories, along with an honorable mention for one of Lee's cartoons.
These young writers, photographers and artists have proven once again that they are turning out the best teen journalism in the world. We know that, of course, but it's still nice to see it confirmed.
Check out the Awards link on The Tattoo's home for more information.

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Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Thank You For Smoking

Don't miss newcomer Yanni Lin's review of the movie "Thank You For Smoking," a witty take on Christopher Buckley's book of the same name. It's online now at

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

Monday, May 15, 2006

Alex Sanchez exposed

Tattoo writer Zach Brokenrope's Question & Answer session with popular teen-oriented writer Alex Sanchez is online now and shouldn't be missed.

While you're at it, catch Brokenrope's glowing review of Sanchez's most recent novel.

There's more to come on the website. Check it out often!

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

The Daily Star gives a nod to a Tattoo star

Here's the whole story from today's issue of The Daily Star of Hammond, Louisiana:

Budding journalist wins national award

By Don Ellzey
Hardships caused by Hurricane Katrina are proving beneficial to a talented senior at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Hammond.
Samantha Perez, daughter of Ralph and Janet Perez of St. Bernard Parish, was been awarded the Professor Mel Williams Award at the 36th annual Scholastic Press Forum held in Springfield, Mass. The Mel Williams Award was the top prize in the journalism contest sponsored by American International College of Springfield.
Samantha received the honor based on stories of her hurricane evacuee experiences that she submitted to The Tattoo, an independent newspaper written for, and by, teenagers. The newspaper is based in Connecticut.
Not only did Hurricane Katrina provide the background for Samantha to win the writing award, but since September, she has attended three different high schools, making new friends and having new experiences.
As Hurricane Katrina was approaching the Louisiana coast, Samantha and her family evacuated to Bossier City. They lost their home and belongings to the flooding.
At the time, she was a senior at Archbishop Hannan High School in St. Bernard Parish. She will graduate from Hannan on May 20 during a commencement ceremony at Tulane University.
From Bossier City, she enrolled at the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts at Natchitoches. From there, it was to St. Thomas Aquinas in Hammond in October.
Samantha said she loves St. Thomas.
"The administration is wonderful, and the other students made me feel perfectly welcome," she said.
She learned that the principal, Jose Becerra, is a native of St. Bernard.
Samantha said St. Thomas offers courses she would not have had access to at Archbishop Hannan, considered to be a top quality high school. She said the academic atmosphere at St. Thomas can be described only as excellent.
"I've made a lot of new friends here, many of which I hope to be going to Southeastern with," she said.
She learned about The Tattoo while scanning the Internet seeking news about conditions in St. Bernard. The newspaper wanted teen writers who could document their hurricane experiences.
Samantha submitted an article. It so impressed the editors that she has been writing for the newspaper ever since.
The newspaper is also published online at, she said.
All of the dozens of articles she has submitted have been about her hurricane experiences. Samantha said she has written mostly about people and how the hurricane affected their lives and the lives of their families. The articles were intended to inform people from outside the Gulf Coast area about the destruction and human tragedy caused by the hurricane.
Her articles in The Tattoo have triggered reactions from readers throughout the country and the world. Samantha says she has received clothes, coats, toiletries such as shampoos, toothpaste and other items that most people take for granted.
"I had an e-mail from a girl from Ireland who wanted to know if there was any way she could help," Samantha said. "I also had an e-mail from the Denver Post offering to help me and my family."
She said The Tattoo is a not-for-profit newspaper that exists to give teens an opportunity to write and gain writing experience. She has also made friends with other teens who write for the paper.
Samantha has a summer job lined up at Pelican Publishing Co. in Gretna. She plans to enroll at Southeastern Louisiana University this fall and major in English. Her career goal is to eventually become an editor at a major publishing house.
© Hammond Star

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

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Reversing the newspaper slide

The latest Advertising Age has more dire news for newspapers: In the past six months, U.S. papers have lost another 1.2 million readers as their long-term slide into oblivion continues.
Even some of the best papers in America -- The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Baltimore Sun and more -- saw depressing declines. The San Francisco Chronicle lost more than 15 percent of its readers in the six months between Oct. 1 and March 30.
While the industry flails around searching for some juju to pump life back into an increasingly stale product, the answer remains obvious: Sell papers to a new generation instead of pumping out a product for the parents of Baby Boomers.
It's time to treat young people with respect instead of dismissing them at every turn as apathetic, greedy, mindless, tv-watching, video game-playing morons who somehow simultaneously start companies, invent industries, swamp Harvard with perfect SAT scores and suchwhat.
Instead of treating young people as freaks, it's time to take them seriously.
And here's what they want: a newspaper that's not hopelessly dowdy.
Papers should be funny, full of important news, vicious toward incompetents, able to show their heart without pandering, full of great pictures, showcase comics that didn't lose their way decades ago, turn out sports pages that pay attention to new sports as well as old, stay honest and open to readers at every turn, and be eager to lead America into a better future.
Papers need websites that are chock full of interesting stuff, too, because we have to admit that newspapers may not be printed before long -- so building readership online is vital.
Newspapers need to embrace a changing language and a changing culture.
They need to get with the times because the world is changing a whole lot faster than newspapers.
At The Tattoo, we're excited about the possibilities. But we're terrified that bean counters and cowards will hold the press down instead of letting it soar.

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

Monday, May 08, 2006

Duck sale

As 5,000 tiny, plastic ducks floated down a stretch of the Pequabuck River Sunday, The Tattoo did its best to supply hungry, thirsty spectactors in Forestville with candy, ice cream, soda and water at $1 apiece. We made a little money for future projects.
Helping out were Tattoo writers Rachel Glogowski, Justin Skaradosky, Stefan Koski and Wesley Saxena. Tattoo Mom and Tattoo Dad were there, too, along with Kiernan and Mary.
We're grateful to the Forestville Village Association for sponsoring the event and for assistance from its president, Dave Pasqualicchio. Thanks, too, for the friendly words from many faithful Tattoo readers!
We'll be holding more fundraisers and can also use a helping hand. Just let us know if you're in a position to boost the cause of youth journalism in Central Connecticut and across the globe.

PS: Thanks as well to for the picture!

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

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Tattoo featured in Quest project

Wesley Saxena and his project on Mughal Architecture

At a recent Quest Fair in West Hartford, Conn., Tattoo writer Wesley Saxena showed off a project he did at King Phillip Middle School on the architecture of one period of history in India. As the picture clearly shows, his travel piece for The Tattoo proved the perfect centerpiece for his display board about the project. We love to see The Tattoo get around!

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

Hurricane Journal writer finishes high school

Don't miss award-winning Hurricane Journal writer Samantha Perez's account of her final day of high school in Louisiana. Here's the beginning:

Today is my last day of high school, and as I sit here in St. Thomas Aquinas' dusty library, I can't help but wonder about all the wonderful things I would be doing with my friends if Hannan were still around. Seniors used to parade around the halls with their video cameras and sign each other's uniform shirts. We would all be wearing countdown tags, marking down the days until the end of school. At the end of the day, all the seniors would run to the front office and countdown the last thirty seconds of their final day of high school. No one from Hannan will be doing that this year.
Today, more than any day I've experienced since the hurricane, seems fake, seems hollow. It's almost as if this reality is slightly off and that next year, I'll return to Hannan after this little vacation for my real senior year.
But, with a graduation dress hanging in the closet of my grandparents' house trailer, I realize that's not true. I graduate this year, this month. This, this hollow day, is my final day of high school.
Next August, I won't be returning to Hannan as a student. Instead, I will be living in a dorm room on a college campus, struggling to adjust to a new sort of normalcy all over again.
I graduate on May 20th, and although this year's grades will not be included, I had the second highest GPA in the class, which means I will be delivering the salutatorian address.
My prom is on the 13th, and I will be wearing my gorgeous pink dress that held against the tyrant of the hurricane.
I am a senior. I graduate. There's no stopping that.

Read the rest at If you haven't read the many journal entries that Perez started writing the day that Hurricane Katrina slammed ashore, this is the time to catch up. She's written a remarkable slice of history, a telling account of her life in the midst of the maelstrom. It's altogether astounding.

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

Monday, May 01, 2006

Former Tattoo writer snags full-time reporting gig

Congratulations to former Tattoo ace Joe Killian (aka, Joe Wilbur) for securing a full-time staff writiting job for the Greensboro News & Record in North Carolina, a paper that's employed him part-time for months as a feature writer.
Joe's talent was obvious from the moment we saw him nearly a decade ago and he's honed that skill ever since, doing great things as a college newspaper editor and during summertime stints for The Bristol Press and the Cape Cod Times as well.
Joe's a great friend of The Tattoo, a champion for free expression and a young man with an extremely bright future. We're insanely proud of him.

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

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