An enthusiastic group of six young journalists, ranging in age from 8 to 11, recently started a new monthly-publication in Cazenovia, covering the news and all happenings in and around Wellington Drive and East Road.
The inaugural issue of The East-Wellington Times was released Jan. 7 to more than 40 area residents.
“I just felt like doing something with everyone in the neighborhood,” said Editor-in-Chief Savannah Johnson. “All I had to was send an invitation out for a meeting. I chose to work with the people I knew the best.”
The first issue, which was put together by Johnson, siblings Libby and Judd Spaulding, brothers Zachary and Aidan Simms and Justin LaBarre, offer readers insight into each of the children’s interests.
LaBarre acts as a photographer meteorologist, reporting on what weather residents can expect in the coming month and capturing pictures of ping pong matches neighborhood adults participate in, which Zachary Simms reports on.
Libby Spaulding contributes her own humorous artwork for the “Comic Corner” and assists Johnson in writing duties.
Judd Spaulding compiles upcoming events that interests readers for the publication’s “Community Happenings,” and reports on special events.
Aidan Simms is in charge of distributing the paper and often lends a hand with photography, providing images to the stories his brother writes.
“We usually meet every weekend at Savannah’s house, where we discuss our stories and things that we come up with together,” said Zachary Simms.
“It’s very rewarding and fulfilling to see kids in the neighborhood working together on a project. We are very proud of our daughter for coming up with this idea,” said Kristi Johnson, parental advisor to the group and mother of the editor-in-chief.
Much of the news items center around the children’s respective pets and the neighborhood hangout located between the LaBarre and Simms households, which is referred to as “The Fort.” Recently, the area was closed due to inclement weather and fallen tree limbs.
The Fort’s managers, LaBarre, Zachary and Aidan Simms, promised readers the area will be reopened in the spring, after cleanup from seasonal storms is completed and vegetation is planted.
Before joining the paper, the three started a website about the Fort, enabling their friends across Cazenovia to keep up with current events. To learn more, visit theeast-wellingtonfort.weebly.com.
In addition to the website the boys maintain, the East-Wellington group regularly communicates via email, edits each other’s work through GoogleDocs and plans to launch a website for the paper in the near future. Johnson currently maintains her own personal blog, which is the temporary landing site for articles and submissions while the East-Wellington website is created with the help of the groups parental advisors.
“In our generation, as the parents of these children, we didn’t have these opportunities. So it’s nice that they don’t even bat an eyelash at chances like this,” said Jay LaBarre, parental advisor and father of Justin. “They are using this opportunity and being very creative — this is important.”
Over the next three weeks, the staff of the East-Wellington Times will continue to compile information and news stories from their coverage area, preparing for the Feb. 4 distribution.
Each issue will be released and delivered to subscribers the first Saturday of each month. To submit material for print, or to request a copy, contact The East Wellington Times, c/o Johnsons, 2319 Wellington Dr. S. in Cazenovia.
Pierce Smith is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at 434-8889 ext. 338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.