The Citizen's Newspapers in Education program is in full swing, with subscriptions to the paper's print and digital products being supplied to hundreds of students in classrooms throughout the Cayuga County area.
It's a program made possible by reader and community donations, which we greatly appreciate. We feel strongly, perhaps more than ever, that becoming a habitual reader, listener or viewer of local news content is a big step toward helping young people learn about and, ultimately, help their communities.
In an effort to draw student readers and their teachers who signed up for our NIE subscriptions into the paper, we try to supply some customized educational content throughout the year. Two of the more robust months for that content are February and March, when we have Black History Month and Women's History Month profiles. Each of these profile subjects have strong connections to New York state.
Those profiles have kicked off the past two weeks with our publication of profiles of Sojourner Truth and John "Bud" Fowler. Two more profiles for Black History Month and then four profiles for Women's History Month will be appearing each Wednesday on page A9 of the print edition and at the Newspapers in Education Blog at auburnpub.com.
We also will be continuing our monthly history-themed NIE presentations later this month when we publish a feature on the 50th anniversary of the Feb. 24 Supreme Court decision Tinkers v. Des Moines, which solidified that students have First Amendment rights.
The content for these features comes from the terrific people at the New York News Publishers Association (disclosure: I serve on the board of that organization), who also believe strongly in the mission of news media literacy for our student population.
In addition to checking out the profiles, I encourage everyone to visit the association's Young Voices of New York website at www.yvnewyork.com. This is a website in which any student in New York age 13 or younger can contribute content. It's a fun way for them to get some experience writing and sharing their work with a statewide audience.
An updated mug
When I've been able to meet readers in person, one subject that has come up several times over the years is my column photograph. In a friendly way, the reader will say something like "You don't look like the picture that's in the paper." I may say, "No? Do I actually look worse or better?" And the response has almost always been a polite way of saying that the mugshot I've been using for probably a decade or more is not a flattering depiction of my appearance.
My wife has shared this thought with me on occasion, as well. And when that has happened, I'd mutter something about trying to get a new one done soon.
A few weeks ago, when the subject of my column photo came up — not in a good way — during a conversation she was having with some other people, she did what any spouse who needs to get things done would do: she went around me. All it took was a friendly message to our staff photographer, Kevin Rivoli, who subsequently made it clear to me that I had no choice but to sit down in front of his lens.
So about a week ago, I put a little extra effort into combing my hair before coming to the office and had Kevin take a new shot. You should be seeing the result in today's paper. Kevin always does an amazing job with every picture he shoots, but I'm sure this wasn't the best material he's had to work with. I'll leave it up to you to decide if the new me is an improvement.