Print is not dead! The smell of ink, the feel of real paper and the power of the press has taken hold at Rocky River’s Kensington Intermediate School where a book about a fifth grader’s scathing editorial criticizing her burned-out teacher led a fourth-grade student to launch his own student newspaper.
The student, Alex Ganzer, was inspired by “The Landry News” by Andrew Clements. He thought it would be fun to start his own student newspaper. He launched the first issue of The Kensington Times this fall with help from friends and “reporters” Annie Shen and Marko Dzodzo. Since then the staff has grown to eight – including classmates Sydney Allen, Thomas Lindic, Ryker Mostoller-Gaggiani, Chiara Kimmel and Grace Ward – with a goal of publishing once a month.
“This is not a club or teacher-led activity, but a project Alex worked on and developed on his own,” Kensington Principal Todd Murphy said.
In the latest edition, students published interviews with Rocky River City Schools Transportation Supervisor Erin Peacock, police officers and ideastream program host Rick Jackson.
The journalism gene is alive and well in Alex. His father, Tony Ganzer, is an ideastream reporter and on-air host on 90.3 WCPN.
“We do talk about the news at home and about what he does in his reporting, so that might have helped this project seem more doable,” Alex said.
His mother, Katie Ganzer, plays an advisory and editorial role with the newspaper, but stresses her job is very much behind the scenes.
“When Alex first had the idea this summer, I helped guide his brainstorming to tease out what he envisioned for the project,” Ganzer said. “I helped him format the first issue, but he has been taking over this task more and more himself, so that he and I adjust the final formatting for each issue together.”
Ganzer said she occasionally makes story suggestions based on Alex’s interests. She also tries to proofread each issue, but she rarely interacts with the other staff members directly.
“More and more, the staff is coming up with their own wonderful ideas for articles,” Ganzer said. “They seem to coordinate well with each other, and they motivate each other to submit their work in time.”