“The Clark Street Journal”

“The Weekly” of the Middle School


Photo by Elena Holceker

Faculty advisor, Kate Tabor, reviews the "Clark Street Journal" once more.

When opening the second issue of the Middle School’s “The Clark Street Journal,” you see a two-column list of the names of the publication’s contributors. Under the names a pencil-drawn comic illustrates a student complaining to another student about an earworm — a song that’s gotten stuck in the student’s head. To the right of this comic, there is a letter from “The Clark Street Journal” editor-in-chief and eighth grader Ian Shayne, thanking the contributors for investing their time and encouraging other middle schoolers to join.

“The Clark Street Journal” was established in October by Shayne and eighth grader Marcelo Pereira-Webber, who were passionate about journalism and the prospect of participating in “The Weekly,” according to Middle School English teacher, former faculty adviser of “The Weekly,” and faculty advisor of “The Clark Street Journal” Kate Tabor.

The staff meets every Monday morning before school at 7:30 to work on the upcoming issue. Tabor and the students agreed on this meeting time because they did not want “The Clark Street Journal” to interfere with their after school activities. There are 22 contributors total but 12 students who come to the meetings every week, according to Tabor.

“They asked if it would be possible for a Middle School newspaper,” Tabor said. “They really wanted to focus on news in the Middle School, and Mr. Novick didn’t see any barrier, and so we just got started with a handful of folks who were willing to do some of the writing and editing.”

The name of the publication was influenced by “The Wall Street Journal”, according to Shayne, but the creation of  “The Clark Street Journal” was inspired by “The Weekly.”

“‘The Weekly’ influenced us in the beginning,” Shayne said. “Now we’ve found a rhythm. We’ve been pushed forward, and basically we’re working with that.”

“We really only have a named position as the editor,” Tabor said, “but we also have film reviewers, restaurant reviewers, three to four young lady cartoonists from the 6th grade, and we have someone who likes to construct puzzles.”

Shayne, Pereira-Webber, and eighth grader Oliver Marks were the initial editors-in-chief, but Pereira-Webber and Marks were too busy with other extracurricular activities. As the only editor of “The Clark Street Journal,” Shayne is working to make the publication similar to “The Weekly more relevant to the Middle School.

“‘The Weekly’ was good, but it wasn’t focused on Middle School news,” Shayne said. “Middle Schoolers want Middle School news.”

Middle School principal John Novick believes that the establishment of the Clark Street Journal has fostered a connection between Middle School and upper school journalists. He adds that the publication has also sparked more interest in the Weekly and in journalism.

“Middle School kids look up to Upper School kids,” Novick said. “They just see the freedom and the maturity, and they aspire to it. Not so much the 8th grade, but the 6th and 7th graders on the newspaper, I’m sure it makes them feel good to put out a newspaper like their upper school counterparts. I’m sure they read ‘The Weekly,’ and I’ll bet you that more of them read it now that they’re writing their own newspaper than before.”

Novick adds that if Middle Schoolers have a better sense of who they are, they will have an easier time knowing what activities they want to become involved with in the upper school.

“We like Middle School to be like going to a tapas restaurant where you open the menu, and there’s a lot of different things, some of which kids have never done before,” Novick said. “We want them to taste and sample as many activities as they can, so they can get to know themselves, get to know who they are as they develop their identities, and then sort out what areas in Upper School they really may want to focus on.”

“The Clark Street Journal” staff writer and sixth grader Tess Wayland explains that she got involved with the publication to prepare herself for her participation in “The Weekly.” She believes that without experience in journalism, getting acclimated to writing articles every month would become difficult. Wayland also wanted to strengthen her writing skills.

“I want to be a writer when I grow up,” Wayland said. “So writing for ‘The Clark Street Journal,’ and eventually ‘The Weekly,’ is a good excuse for me to write something.”

Shayne and Wayland report that they have received positive feedback from their readers. “I like reading all the stuff that’s in ‘The Clark Street Journal,” sixth grader Marin Dennis said, “and I just like to see what’s going on.”

For the future of “The Clark Street Journal,” Tabor and the publication’s staff strive to solidify the same Parker-geared scope of  “The Weekly.”

“I would love, just like ‘The Weekly,’ I would love to continue to focus on news stories here at Parker,” Tabor said. “Everybody wants to write about the most recent current events in the world, but I try to get the kids to think about things that are happening in the Middle School, whether it’s the musical or the sports teams.”