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September 23, 2014
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Hot off the press: youth-led Manor Ink


Anyone who thinks that today’s young people are apathetic hasn’t met the pack that recently produced the inaugural issue of Manor Ink. In fact, covering issues that youth care about is precisely the point of the new publication, according to Tyler Young, 17, one of several young editors involved in the effort.

“It’s all from the point of view of kids, what we think is important,” said Tylor.

The premier issue tackles topics ranging from invasive insects to the MazFest music festival to the loss of a beloved high school music teacher. In “Imagine Manor,” youth weigh in with a wish list on what they want to see in town, such as a movie theater, skate park and teen hangout. A community calendar and library news round out the colorful pages.

The new publication is based at the Livingston Manor Free Library and is part of a multi-media news project hosted by the library. Timed for release in advance of the popular Trout Parade, the eight-page, full-color newspaper was planned and written by kids and young adults in and around Livingston Manor who have been meeting at the library since March.

A group of adult mentors, including library director Peggy Johansen, designer Carolyn Bivins and journalist Barbara Gref, has been advising the news operation. Gref runs the nonprofit Community Reporting Alliance, which has partnered with the library to help produce the print and digital news.

In order to fill a news void that developed due to the loss of Livingston Manor’s community newspaper and the school’s newspaper, and to provide a vehicle for the voice of young people, mother and substitute teacher Jamie Helper approached the library board in late 2011. The concept was well received and has only gained momentum since.

“Manor Ink is off and running,” said Johansen. “With continued hard work, it will be the newspaper of Livingston Manor, a community that has a clear identity, a strong history and citizens who care about community affairs.”

So far, about 16 young people have been involved in writing stories, taking photos, recording videos, building the website, setting up the Facebook page, selling ads and planning fundraisers. All young people are welcome to join. The general age group is 12 to 21 years old.

Helper said she is “extremely proud and amazed” at how far the fledgling paper has come in just a short time. “A town newspaper seemed like a perfect vehicle to potentially engage a wide range of personalities and talents and provide an outlet for young adults with immediate, measurable results and impact. I wanted the kids to have a tool to empower themselves and reveal their worth to the community.”

The youth plan to put out a monthly paper and will delve into the topic of bullying next. “It’s fun working with everybody in the community,” said Tyler. “We’ll keep going as long as we can.”

Copies of the premier issue are available at no cost at the library and at numerous other locations on Main Street. Contact manorink@yahoo.com for more information. Manor Ink can also be seen on the web at www.manorink.com and at www.facebook.com/LivingstonManorInk.