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RBHS newspaper staff takes home first place in state

Red Bank High School has the Best Independent News Website as judged by the Tennessee High School Press Association.

This is the second year in a row the Blue and White newspaper’s online site has been named Tennessee’s best. RBHS student Alexandria Oviatt also won third place in state editorial writing this year.

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Red Bank High School’s Blue and White newspaper staff writer Taylor Lewis, newspaper advisor/English teacher Greg Cantrell and newspaper assistant editor Amee Desai, from left, hold awards they won from the Tennessee High School Press Association for 2011 and 2012. The association named the school’s newspaper the No. 1 student-produced newspaper in Tennessee for Best Independent News Website.

“We believe we are the oldest continuously produced student newspaper in Chattanooga since 1942,” said newspaper advisor Greg Cantrell. “I’m hands-off. The editors write the headlines, edit and work on photos and captions.

“As soon as stories are written and edited, we try to update the website every day. We stagger deadlines.”

The school formerly printed a monthly newspaper, but switched to a solely online presence two years ago. The school’s newspaper staff likes to upload eye-catching photos and graphics to draw in readers, according to Cantrell.

Staff writer Taylor Lewis, who is working on a story about senior project presentations, said Cantrell’s high standards and room-for-improvement mentality help motivate her to succeed. A junior, she plans to enroll at Columbia University and major in journalism after graduation.

“I have high expectations for them,” said Cantrell. “They always rise to the occasion. The newspaper staff [of four editors and nine staff writers] is made up of good students that provide a great service to the school.”

“My papers are always full of red marks, but it helps me learn,” said assistant editor Amee Desai. “We can always do better.”

A junior who plans to enroll in Oglethorpe University and pursue journalism, she is currently working on a story to find out whether students are keeping up with political campaigns. She also designs the advertisements sold by students for the online newspaper. Each student is required to sell two ads for the paper per semester.

Cantrell said the staff’s writing has improved all-around.

Students take turns writing on computers in class. Some continue writing at home on their laptops.

“We interview students during class one day,” said Desai. “The next day, we write the story in class. We try to take as many photo angles as possible. We try to get on the ground shooting up at football games to get the shot of the tackle.”

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