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Linked! celebrates year 5!

September 25, 2013
Linked! is celebrating its fifth year, and once again students from five area schools will have the opportunity to participate in a one-of-a-kind publication during 2013-14 school year.

The monthly Linked! publication is a collaborative effort between O'Bannon Publishing Co., Newspapers in Education and the high schools to promote literacy and reading education and to teach students how newspapers function and the work that goes into creating them.

Students from North Harrison, Corydon Central, Lanesville, Crawford County and South Central have the chance to voice their opinions, write articles about current events, both worldwide and local, and take photographs.

The inter-school newspaper is focused on student viewpoints and promoting student reporting and collaboration. Backed by O'Bannon Publishing Co., publisher of the Clarion News and The Corydon Democrat, it is a one-of-a-kind periodical.

"Linked! is a fantastic tool for students, their parents and the community as a whole," Jonathan O'Bannon, president and publisher at O'Bannon Publishing Co., said. "Connecting our schools and the voices of our future is exciting."

For the last four years, Linked! has promoted community literacy, diplomacy and diversity. The program has blossomed, but this year's Linked! is being taken to a new level as participants will no longer be limited to just juniors and seniors.

"We allowed underclassmen at Corydon Central to participate in the second semester of our program, and we were pleasantly surprised," Leslie Radcliff, Linked! adviser, said.

Radcliff, a reporter for the Clarion News, is one of three advisers for the Linked! program. She is joined by Clarion News editor Chris Adams and Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, editor of The Corydon Democrat.

"Our students really rose to the occasion and we wanted to reward all of the schools for that so we are more than happy to invite freshman and sophomore students into our newsrooms," Radcliff said. "We believe that even our youngest high school students have the ability to express themselves articulately, and we want to give them that opportunity. It helps that each school's administrators have been on board with the idea from the beginning."

"Our Linked! students never cease to amaze me with their insight and writing ability," Adams said. "It has been a pleasure watching the program grow year by year. I'm excited to see what our student journalists produce this year."

Because of the success of the Linked! program, the staff at The Corydon Democrat and the Clarion News was able to welcome two more interns into the fold this past summer: Olivia Troutman and Riley Mills.

Troutman is a 2013 graduate of South Central Junior-Senior High School and is currently attending Indiana University Southeast, where she plans to major in psychology and either double-major or minor in journalism.

Mills is a senior when at Crawford County Junior-Senior High School and, while her interests lie more in the behind-the-scenes production of the newspaper, she produced several articles during her internship.

Both students sought out opportunities to further their writing careers after being a part of the program during the academic year.

"We always tell the kids that they can do whatever it is that they want to do in life," Radcliff said. "We tell them, 'Here are the tools you need. Now, show us what you can do.' And those girls really took those tools and utilized them to the best of their ability this summer."

Students are still working in newsroom-style rotation and will continue to integrate the social media sites Twitter, Facebook and YouTube into their writing efforts in order to engage a wider audience and get to know their peers from the other schools.

The first issue of Linked! is in today's issues of the Clarion News and The Corydon Democrat.

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