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Monday, April 23, 2007

RIP David Halberstam

One of America's best journalists, David Halberstam, died today in an automobile crash in California. He started his career as a chronicler of the Civil Rights movement, produced sterling reporting from Vietnam, and wrote a number of brilliant books during his long career.
Halberstam truly was one of the best and the brightest.
His loss is immeasurably sad.

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Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

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The Tattoo hangs with "Simpsons" writer Mike Reiss

L to R: Justin Skaradosky, Tattoo cartoonist; writer Mike Reiss; and Tattoo writer Beth Pond.

We here at Tattoo Central had a great chance last week spending some time with Mike Reiss, a Bristol, Conn. native who's been writing for "The Simpsons" since it went on the air nearly two decades ago. Reiss provided plenty of grist for fans of the show as well as giving solid tips for young people who might want to follow the path he took to success.
Be sure to check out for stories by Beth Pond and Rachel Glogowski.
Also in this week's edition is an eye-opening essay by Australian teen Rebecca Baylis on the pressures of senior year and a review of Fall Out Boy's latest album by Alabama teen Mallory Mitchell.

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Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

El Salvador news story wins major award

Tattoo writer Oscar Ramirez, from San Salvador, collected a first-place newswriting award in the Scholastic Press Forum's annual contest last month for his stellar story last spring about a day care provider on the lam from the police after a baby died in her unregistered shelter.
The Tattoo published a detailed story by Ramirez, in both English and Spanish, that told about life in the shelter -- including photographs -- and laying out what happened afterward. It was a timely scoop on a big story in Central America.
We're proud of Oscar and glad his work got some recognition.

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Copyright 2007 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

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Two issues from April online now

Catch up with The Tattoo!
This month, we've had two great issues.
On April 2, we published a piece from Trinidad teen Kate Agard about how she spent the wild days of Carnival on her island paradise, a review of "Freedom Writers" by Connecticut teen Beth Pond, a piece by Singapore teen Geraldine Soon about meeting up with one of The Tattoo's writers from India, a review of "I Spy" photographer Walter Wick's recent museum exhibit, and a new cartoon by Justin Skaradosky that our Bristol-based readers will especially appreciate.
This week, in addition to the pieces by teens in Blacksburg, Va., we have Kate Agard's cautionary tale about getting drunk, a news story by Beth Pond about Kurt Vonnegut's death, a news story by Sean Soltys about the new Everest Expedition rollercoaster at Disney's Orlando, Fla. amusement park and another wonderful cartoon by Justin Skaradosky.
We'll have more soon, so keep checking back!

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Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

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Blacksburg teens react to Va. Tech shooting spree

Four students at Blacksburg High School, just down the road from the Virginia Tech campus, wrote pieces this week for The Tattoo detailing their horror at events the massacre in their hometown. Another student's piece will be added soon.
The teens, two sophomores and two seniors, help shed some light on how the tragedy hit home to young people for whom Virginia Tech is part of the landscape.
Another teen from their school, a senior, found he couldn't write anything. Two of his friends died at the hands of a crazed gunman.
Be sure to check out what these teens had to say at

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Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Freedom on the line in Indiana

It is time for everyone who cares about the First Amendment and a free press to stand up for Amy Sorrell, the Woodlan Junior-Senior High School journalism teacher in Indiana.
Sorrell received notice on March 29 of her possible terminations as a teacher for allegedly violating school rules because she stood against the outrageous censorship of a student’s column that called for tolerance toward gays.
According to a story published by the Student Press Law Center, students refused to print the paper, The Tomahawk, at all after Principal Edwin Yoder insisted on future prior review of all articles.
Sorrell, showing ingenuity and smarts, began teaching the students First Amendment cases with an eye toward making suggestions for a revised district policy on student publications.
“Changing ‘the prescribed curriculum’ was one violation noted in the letter along with her alleged use of the district's e-mail system to transmit ‘false or misleading statements to the media,’ casting Yoder ‘in a false light’ and her refusal to retract and replace the Tomahawk's current editorial policy,” the SPLC said.
"The journalism program...would be better served by replacing you with a teacher willing to work collaboratively with, not in conflict with, the building administrator in carrying out the prior review curriculum requirement for school sponsored publications," the letter said, according to the SPLC story.Sorrell said that the district, East Allen, “is trying to turn this into a personnel issue," but it’s not. "This is about East Allen's stance on tolerance and disregard for the First Amendment," she told the SPLC.A hearing, which Sorrell asked to take place in public, is expected soon, with a final decision likely at the May 1 school board meeting.
This is as sickening an abuse of power by a wayward principal as we’ve seen.
Not content with just censoring a perfectly reasonable column, Yoder is now taking aim at a teacher who is not just good, but great. She’s teaching her students – and the rest of us – that standing up for freedom demands that we take on tyrants, whether they’re commanding armies of evil or running schools like private fiefdoms.
This isn’t a personnel issue. It’s about whether or not the schools, students and teachers in East Allen, Indiana will taste the liberty that nourishes our country or if they’ll be forced to bend to the dictates of a principal with no principles.
The world is watching.
Amy Sorell is worth a million Edwin Yoders.

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Copyright 2007 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

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