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Students Linked! by passion for journalism

Students from five area schools will have the chance to participate in a one-of-a-kind publication during this school year.
Corydon Central, Crawford County, Lanesville, North Harrison and South Central juniors and seniors will have the opportunity to voice their opinions, write articles about current events, both worldwide and local, and take photographs for Linked!, an interschool publication focused on student viewpoints and backed by O’Bannon Publishing Co. Inc., publisher of The Corydon Democrat and Clarion News.
The Linked! publication is a collaborative effort between O’Bannon Publishing, Newspapers in Education and the high schools to promote literacy and reading education and to teach students how newspapers function and the work that goes into creating them. It is published nine times during the school year.
‘Linked! is a fantastic tool for students, their parents and the community as a whole,’ Jonathan O’Bannon, president and publisher at O’Bannon Publishing, said. ‘Connecting our schools and the voices of our future is exciting.’
For the last three years, Linked! has promoted community literacy, diplomacy and diversity, but this year it’s being taken to a new level as students will form a ‘mini-newsroom’ at each school.
‘Essentially, they will be doing what we do at the office,’ Leslie Radcliff, a staff reporter for the Clarion News and Linked! adviser, said. ‘They’ll be responsible for everything but the layout. Everything content related is up to them.’
Each newsroom will generate and assign story ideas, create online content for the Linked! social media sites and participate and present their work at a quarterly forum.
Radcliff is just one of three professional advisers for the Linked! program. She will be joined by Clarion News editor Chris Adams and Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, editor of The Corydon Democrat.
‘We’re making some big changes for this year’s program,’ Adams said. ‘It’s going to be much different than in previous years.’
Changes include the formation of the student newsrooms and integrating social media sites Twitter, Facebook and YouTube into the curriculum in an effort to spread Linked! content to a wider audience and encourage interschool unity. Plus, quarterly forums will be conducted to bring all of the newsrooms together. In addition to getting to know their peers from the other schools, the students will hear from speakers from all types of journalism.
But perhaps the biggest change has been the number of students allowed to participate in the program.
‘In the past, we’ve taken two students from each school and formed a Student Editorial Board,’ Adams said. ‘This year, because of the response, we’ve opened it to up to 20 students from each school.’
However, like in the past, all students at the five high schools are invited to submit articles, photos, videos and more.
‘Our students have really stepped up their participation this year,’ Spieth-Saylor said. ‘I’m very pleased to see such a great response from students and administration alike.’
Radcliff believes the students are up to the challenge.
‘I think that our students will rise to the occasion,’ she said. ‘If you expect more, they will give you more.’
The first issue of Linked! for the 2012-13 school year will be available Sept. 26.