Opportunities for students to publish their writings in a local newspaper

Students in Cape Fear area can have their work published in local newspaper, called Teen Scene.
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 8:24 AM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - There’s another newspaper to read in town, but the twist is that it’s written by students in New Hanover and Brunswick counties.

Teen Scene, which can be found in Cape Fear Voices, is a paper that started in 2020 amid the pandemic. It has quickly gained popularity among students and now works with six local middle and high schools. There are currently over 100 students involved in this program.

Combined, the papers currently have a readership of 5,600 readers from print copies and reach more than 3,000 email readers throughout the Cape Fear area.

While students may write about the news of the day, they also get to write fiction/non-fiction stories, reviews, poetry and can even submit art. Karleigh Quinn, a junior at Brunswick County Early College High School, said the program has helped her grow immensely.

“I’ve become an editor for my school newspaper, which has been a big improvement from last year. Last year, I was just kind of publishing whatever came out of my mouth. This year, I’ve started being given prompts and being given stories to write about that other people would want to hear. And it’s really cool to be tasked with that,” said Quinn.

When the project started in 2020, there was one high school with a newspaper and journalism club. Now two years later, there are five schools involved, and more and more students want to get involved.

It’s a plus for schools as well. With many students falling behind in math and English over the last two years, the paper is helping fix that. The founder of Teen Scene explains how it’s working.

“We try to interact with the writers to let them know where they can improve their writing. Make sure they’re addressing their audience. We also leave the English part of it and the educational part of it to the classroom. And that’s how we want to close the circle with teachers, through the journalism club. So, they can work on the editing side before we work on the publishing side,” said Gerald Decker, Founder of Teen Scene.

Decker originally started this program in 2004 in Alabama, but since he has relocated to the Cape Fear area, he wanted to continue making an impact with students who have a passion for journalism.

Decker is happy that he has given schools a “school newspaper” again.

If you want to check it out for yourself, you can find the papers at some grocery stores, libraries and senior centers. There’s a full list of locations on the Cape Fear Voices website.