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Film & Animation
Huntington NY

Thunderbirding

Adam Richlin on Tuesday, 24 April 2007.




I got an email in my inbox today.


Funny how a little comment from someone I have never met can unleash a flood of memories.

Back in high school, I ran my school newspaper (the Thunderbird) for a year and a half. It was the golden years of our highschool, so everything was going great for students.

At one point, I started posting on NSPA's website, the National Scholastic Press Association . They had forums for highschool students to work together on common problems about running newspapers like how to find advertising, how to deal with publication deadlines, etc. I answered other kid's questions thuroughly. At the bottom of all of my posts, I wrote "email me at ___ for a free copy of the Thunderbird Newspaper" I never really expected anyone to take me up on it... I just wrote it as a good faith gesture. The funny thing is that I didnt know they would be archived on the website. Students and teachers are still reading the posts I wrote two years ago today. I think most of the posts are still relevant as well.

Since then, I've recieved requests for newspapers and advice from dozens of kids. They come in from nearby and they come in from far away. I recieved letters from 8 other countries as well as teachers, parents and kids starting newspapers in the US. I've worked with Rini in Canada, Jocin in Russia, Raghev in India, Jay in Britain, Yassa and Yuvi in UAE, and a couple others as well. I have had so much fun making pen-pal connections with kids that share no other connection with me than the appeal of mass media. I've had lengthy conversations with kids and made connections that I never would have forged on my own. I have traded stories about how family life works with Raghev in India... I've had to translate advertising prices into rubles for Jocin. It's a constant learning experience.

At one point, I ended a letter to Raghev with "If you need any help with editing or topics for articles, feel free to email me back." I didn't think much of it at the time, but he took me literally. He went back to school, gave my letter to the teacher, and the teacher had ALL of the students paper-mail me their articles! (before you ask, it was an english-based school, so the articles were in English) Each student mailed me their articles seperately, so they trickled in over four weeks. I just answered them as they came in and mailed them back.

But yeah... It's kinda funny that I just remembered this. I opened my email inbox today to find an email from Daniel Choy in Korea. Like all of the rest of them, he asked:

Hey Adam,

This is Daniel from Korea.

We're trying to start our own school news paper, could you send us a sample of the Thunderbird?
Thanks and have a great day!

Sincerely,
Daniel Choy


Thats how most of the conversations start. Two years later, four of them are still friends that I correspond with regularly.


...shall we see where this one goes?