As we strive to continue to be your primary source for community news, one of our challenges is to keep your voices in the paper.
We do that in a variety of ways, from letters to the editor that appear on this page, to more subtle Cheers & Jeers (always located on page A2), to columns from community members.
There’s a variety of those, too: A Time to Talk personal essays from a set of rotating columnists; Out Our Way, which features events on the Key Peninsula once a month; In the Garden, a twice-monthly feature with tips and tricks; On Faith, a twice-monthly religion-based column designed to provoke thought; plus Chamber Chat and Your Health, which come from the local business and health care industries, respectively.
Next month, we hope to add a new set of voices to the mix, a youth connection with Gig Harbor and Peninsula high schools and the student publications for which they volunteer.
The students will have an opportunity to broaden their horizons and write about a community issue, or they’ll provide insight on what it’s like to be a teenager in today’s world.
The partnership includes providing students a chance to get an inside look at a potential career, something the Peninsula School District attempts to have across multiple industries.
In fact, the school district will host an industry summit in early April to have business leaders address a group of educators and tell them what today’s students need in order to be “college- or career-ready.”
Real-world experiences before students enter the real world are invaluable in terms of preparation, expectations and confidence in one’s ability to do the job properly.
We’ll get to fill a void with youth-focused writing that provides perspective and an opportunity for other teenagers to have an interest in picking up the newspaper.
One of the successes community newspapers can hang their hat on is their ability to tell exclusive, local stories. And, other than the fact that the stories are interesting and well-written, people read them based on a couple of factors: They typically either know the subjects, or they can relate to them in some way.
We’ve got a lot of bases covered, but we’re missing that younger voice. By including it — in an alternating fashion between the two student publications, the Sound and the Outlook — we hope our school connection will encourage others to get involved and to read their peers’ work.
And we encourage other community members to keep your submissions coming, from photos to letters to Cheers & Jeers, and we’ll find the appropriate place to get them in print.
After all, it’s your community newspaper, and we want you involved.
Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 253-358-4150 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_brian.