Girls gather, write, edit and deliver neighborhood paper
Sunday, January 23, 2005
They haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize—yet—but they are some of Chicago’s youngest reporters. Sisters Shira and Devorah Taxer, 11 and 12, and their friend, Sori Raizman, 12, have been publishing their own newspaper, the “Far-go,” since June 2003.
Four pages long, the “Far-go” (named for the Chicago street on which they live) is a lively collection of local news, interviews, recipes and a kids’ page with puzzles and games.
The idea arose at a birthday party.
“We were thinking of writing a book about a friend of ours,” says Sori. That idea evolved into the newspaper.
The girls planned stories and strategy, asked advice from friends and neighbors but wrote much of the paper themselves. Tema Taxer, mom of Shira and Devorah, took the girls to OfficeMax to make copies.
The girls not only report, write and edit the paper, they also handle sales and door-to-door distribution.
The first issue “was great for the whole family, for the kids as well as the adults,” says neighbor Orah Azose, who also is Shira and Devorah’s aunt. “We really enjoyed reading it together.”
During the following months, the girls added new features. A science section, by chemistry professor Charlie Abrams, another neighbor, tackles topics such as “What makes Fireflies Glow?” and “The Chemistry of Chocolate and Vanilla.”
Arts and crafts ideas for kids, a section on household safety tips and an update on a neighbor’s fence project rounded out later issues. The girls cover costs by charging 50 cents a copy and by selling classified ads—at 25 cents per ad.
The girls’ parents agree that this has been well worth the time and effort. “Even though it cost a little money,” says Tema, “the girls learned so much. They had to be responsible and manage their expenses; and they were busy, creative and happy all summer.”
To date, there have been 13 issues of “Far-go.” “We only did a few issues during the school year, because we didn’t have time,” explains Devorah. Adds Shira, “And this summer we all went to camp, so we were pretty busy.”
The girls are hoping to publish a few more issues of “Far-go” during the coming months, depending on how much schoolwork they have.
And, like any smart entrepreneur, these seasoned journalists are considering the future. “We’re going to try to get some of the younger kids involved,” says Sori. “Now that we’re older, we don’t have as much time as we used to.”