Lincoln High School's newspaper in jeopardy

Students ask for help from community
By: Travis Deuerling Special to The News Messenger
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Lincoln High School has always been a school of traditions and rich with history; our clubs, rallies and student organizations all have a special way of making Lincoln High students feel connected to the generations of Fighting Zebras that came before us. One program held very dear to Lincoln High, and myself personally, is our student-run newspaper, Zebra Tales. For many years, Zebra Tales has been a way of congratulating academic and physical achievements, a soapbox for students who wish to express themselves and, at the end of every school year, to commend and serve as a tribute to that year?s graduating senior class. This tribute is referred to as the Senior Issue, the last printed issue of the year dedicated solely to those graduating (or sometimes retiring) from Lincoln High School. For more than a decade now, the Senior Issue has been one of the many traditions to create that level of excitement for Lincoln?s graduating class. But due to today?s expenses, Zebra Tales' special issue is in jeopardy of being printed. Back in the 1970s, the newspaper went by the name of Zebra Territory and won many awards in the area for its writing. At that time, the high school newspaper was being aided by The Lincoln News Messenger itself, helping it cover high school events, sports and even printing a double-page layout of all the graduating seniors of that year in their paper. It was many years later when The Lincoln News Messenger discontinued the double-page layout of graduating seniors and the high school newspaper began putting special emphasis on the seniors, eventually giving them a paper all their own. Through the years, the student newspaper went through many metamorphoses, including the name change to Zebra Tales. The newspaper even went on hiatus for a few years until being brought back, printing issues in 2000; the same year which the Senior Issue became a cornerstone for Zebra Tales and Lincoln High School. Since 2000, Zebra Tales has been producing a Senior Issue every year, rewarding hardworking seniors, both in academics and athletics, for their hard work. Jordan Anderson, a Lincoln High senior, is looking forward to this year?s Senior Issue. ?It?s a nice way to end the year and it?s our last issue of the year,? Anderson said. ?We also do it because it?s nice for seniors to put it in their yearbook as a keepsake.? For Lincoln High School, the Senior Issue has become a yearly tradition for the graduating, much like the yearbook. In 2006, to keep up with rising demands in technology, the paper began a virtual publication, becoming strictly online in 2008. In 2010, Zebra Tales began printing once more in addition to virtually publishing every issue. Lincoln High drama teacher Ed Cummins approves of this change, saying, ?I like a paper you can cut articles and photos out but I know electronic media is here to stay.? Printing issues is a great tradition of ours but it does require more financial support than virtual publishing, ?Some have suggested we stop printing a paper and have only the virtual edition of Zebra Tales. Most teachers and students seem to really enjoy the print edition of Zebra Tales and I think we reach more people as a result,? stated Debbie Tofft, Lincoln High teacher and Zebra Tales adviser. ?It can also serve as an archive for our school; the past virtual issues seem to be lost in cyberspace and they haven?t really been archived.? The cost of printing has taken its toll on the newspaper?s Student Body account, costing roughly $548 per issue printed. This current school year, advertising and funds for Zebra Tales have been especially low and we are currently at risk of not being able to print our final issue of the year, the Senior Issue. The best way to help us print this issue would be donating or advertising. For information including how to donate and ad rates, you can either e-mail the journalism adviser, Debbie Tofft, at or check the ad rates posted at Zebra Tales? website, ?We really need the community?s help to print this final issue and continue printing the school newspaper in the future,? Tofft said. ?I hope the town of Lincoln will respond and help us grow the journalism program at LHS.? Travis Deuerling is editor-in-chief of Zebra Tales at Lincoln High School.