On the Web To read the UAS Whalesong online, visit www.uas.alaska.edu/whalesong/.
Story last updated at 11/25/2008 - 4:34 pm
The University of Alaska Southeast's student newspaper will return in printed form this week after a two-year hiatus.
What had become an endangered publication due to lack of student involvement and cuts in university funding, now appears to be on the rise with a fresh batch of student journalists and a restored commitment from UAS. The UAS Whalesong has been an exclusively online publication since 2007.
Whalesong Editor Laura Lemire, a 22-year-old communications major from Vermont, was the paper's editor when it went out of print years ago. Lemire said she stayed on board in hopes of seeing the paper reemerge in print. With just one semester left before graduation, Lemire saw that goal come to fruition on Wednesday.
"This is something I've wanted for so long and so badly, and it's great to see it finally happening," she said. "I think students will be very happy to see (the Whalesong) back on campus."
The Whalesong will be on newsstands at the UAS campus this week and copies can be picked up at other high-traffic locations around Juneau.
Lemire said the Whalesong went out of print when UAS's newspaper course was canceled in the spring of 2007 because not enough students enrolled in the class. The course, which helped keep students involved in the writing and production of the Whalesong, has already been added to UAS's class listing for next semester. CCW Managing Editor Charles Westmoreland will teach the course.
Westmoreland joined the Whalesong as a co-adviser in September. UAS professor Colleen McKenna took over Whalesong adviser duties several years ago and through her involvement - and the never-let-die attitude of Lemire - the paper was able to keep publishing online.
"I was never ready to throw in the towel," Lemire said. "If you care about something that much, why would you ever just throw it away?"
Lemire said she heavily disagreed with the university's decision to discontinue printing the paper because the printed version allowed students to explore more career paths outside their field of study. Lemire herself intends on pursuing a graduate degree but has newspaper experience to fall back on if needed. Her involvement with the Whalesong led to some part-time work at the Juneau Empire, where the Whalesong will be printed.
Sarah Alli Brotherton, an 18-year-old sophomore from Juneau, returned this year as the paper's production manager and said getting the paper ready for print hasn't been easy.
"It's been challenging, but in a good way," she said.
Brotherton said it's unlikely she'll choose newspapers as a career but said she is happy to expand her skill set as a graphic designer.
"Even if I don't do this as a career, it's a good way to support myself (through college)," she said.
Pierre Bernard, 32, of Haiti, is filling a newly created position of advertising manager and is currently hitting the streets looking for advertisers. UAS is looking to do more than support the newspaper, but rather create an infrastructure where the Whalesong can be more self-sufficient and not rely exclusively on UAS funding.
Lemire is quick to note that the hard part is far from over. With her time as UAS winding down, she says it will be up to future generations of students to take the lead and ensure a strong student publication.
"It's up to the students that come after me to keep the Whalesong going," she said.