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Westport Student Newspaper Exceeds Expectations

Inklings, the student-run newspaper at Staples High School in Westport, is not your average high school newspaper. In fact, with more than 50 awards won over the past 11 years, it's one of the best in the country.

Most recently, Inklings was awarded two Silver Crown Awards , the second-highest award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, an international student press association at Columbia University. But these awards aren't just handed out — they are earned.

"Everyone brainstorms stories — writers, editors, advisers," said senior Devin Skolnick, one of two executive editors for the 2010-11 school year. "Editors look over the brainstorming list and pick which articles they think are the most interesting and pertain most to the upcoming issue."

From there, a final list of stories is complied and explained. The writers then choose which stories they want to write and have one to two weeks to complete their articles, Devin said.

Staffed by nearly 50 students, Inklings is printed about every two to three weeks. The online edition, however, is updated daily with stories, some of which you'll read only online.

When it comes time to put together an issue, students work tirelessly every day until it's complete.

"Layout usually goes from Monday through Friday right after school until at least 4:30 p.m. Then Monday and Friday of the following week, [staff members meet] right after school until at least 7 p.m.," Devin said. "Students also lay out four times a week during the Advanced Journalism class."

Not only does the hard work pay off in awards, Inklings has a readership extends beyond the Staples community. Online, Inklings attracts traffic from across the country.

Devin and co-Executive Editor Petey Menz, also a senior, joined Inklings when they were freshmen. After four years on staff, both said they are not only proud of Inklings' successes but also are proud to have been a part of the team.

"I believe the quality of our layouts and writing has improved since I began working on the staff," Petey said. "I have to attribute this to the fact that we have more and more dedicated students coming to work on the paper."

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