This is the last time my words will ever appear on TheTannerTimes.net. It’s bittersweet but three years ago the notion that I would be writing Tanner Times articles online would be a blessing in itself. In 2015 we made it a reality.
As I leave The Tanner Times it will forever be a platform that is near and dear to my heart. It mattered to people, whether they liked to admit it or not. Whenever the newspaper was spread around the cafeteria my freshman and sophomore years there was always excitement from table to table. Some of it had to do with charismatic, popular editors of the past but quietly the paper has been an institution within PVMHS for some time. As a young kid intrigued by the prospect of working in sports media, it had massive appeal to me.
The first time I ever arrived in Mr. Sullivan’s room in 2013, one of the hottest stories around the school was baseball coach Mark Bettencourt deciding to pick up coaching duties of the football team that a year earlier went 0-10 and was the laughing stock of the entire building. It was the only story I did with The Tanner Times that year before I followed along with the football team’s growth season, but heading into junior year I knew deep within that I wanted to be more involved.
That day finally came and with no hesitation I walked down to the athletic office, grabbed a press pass, and officially embarked my full time coverage of Peabody football junior year. It wasn’t through the Times but it’s what ultimately drew me into the group full time. I didn’t have creative control that year but I had a vision, to push the longtime print publication into the future on an online platform.
It proved to be difficult without control and differences within the staff. Most of them graduated and moved on while the group organizationally looked to be in shambles. That was, until Nick McLaughlin stepped up to the plate.
When I entered with my vision to make the Tanner Times the central media hub of the Peabody community rather than just the high school; it was Nick’s energy, charisma, and creativity alongside myself that helped drive me. Without him all the progress we saw this year would not have been possible and there’s nobody more fitting to take control as editor-in-chief.
Nick and I entered day one and got right down to work. We scanned website platforms, other examples, and drew up models that fit our vision. All the while, we began to hype up students around the school to get involved in the media revolution that we were about to embark on.
We had no site, no money, and no model for how to run The Tanner Times and by year’s end we wrapped up with nearly 100 original pieces of content online, dozens of staff members, and the groundwork for the future. I also sat in the press box behind several thousand fans from Peabody and Everett each when the two teams met on the turf field for their second round all-time playoff thriller, a far cry from the 0-10 squad I started following freshman year. Something went right.
Whether it was our involvement in the school’s biggest events, original photography from Ben, getting feedback from students and teachers for interactive features like Connor’s “Songs of the Week,” the mass following of my football coverage that I moved to the Times in the fall, or the incredible response to our inside look at the Higgins the public and school truly embraced our initiatives every step of the way. When I hinted at moving the paper online to my friends in prior years they asked “how are you going to get people to go online to read?” It was a legitimate concern, but with thousands of views in its first year the website made the assertion that if we bring the content the people will come.
I’ve been involved in countless media ventures throughout high school from CelticsBlog.com to the Peabody Weekly but this one was personal. Seeing the paper progress from the ground up and establishing that successful baseline was an emotional and invigorating journey. We had our bumps in production, we had our moments of frustration, but the dream of making this the official source of Peabody news is now being passed onto the next class. That’s all that matters.
Seeing this group progress next year will bring me great joy from afar. I’ve made my suggestions to Nick and I know he’s ready to edit and manage. Where I’m more instilled in the media world and its ins-and-outs he always brought the vibe and personality of a true leader and is constantly reading the hottest media outlets himself while drawing inspiration from them. The group is in good hands.
The Tanner Times needs more passion like that. Without it, the dream will not be fulfilled. It’s important that a full group is hammered down and ready to work the first week of school in 2016-17. It’s crucial that each member has an personal “role” or “beat” so too much doesn’t fall on each individual's plates along with school. Original photography is a must. Consistency is key. Cooperation with other skillsets within the school from video to business is important. I even think it’d be a great idea to do one print “Best of The Tanner Times” at the end of each year.
All that can come together in time but for now I’m ultra proud of what we accomplished as a team. It pains me that I won’t be here for the next step but I’ve done all I wanted to with the Times and am certain that I’ll be able to look back on it as one of my most important high school experiences.
To the most important person in it all, our advisor Mr. Sullivan, I can’t express enough thanks. As a mentor, friend, and advisor to me throughout my time with the Times; you were one of the most insightful, brightest, and down to earth faculty members I ever came across at PVMHS. Our conversations will be something I carry with me going forward and your commitment to my vision for the group this year was as important as anything else.
From here, it’s on to Syracuse University where I’m thrilled to be studying at one of the best media institutions in the world (Newhouse School of Communications) and working at one of the country’s most storied student newspapers (The Daily Orange). The challenges faced with the Times prepared me well with the incredible people I’ve met through every story I wrote here. Thank you to all I covered, all who read, and all who stood alongside me in making The Tanner Times an institution once again. One day, it will be a club people are begging to join.
This is farewell for me, but for The Tanner Times it is just the beginning. Good luck Nick.
Thank you to our staff: Nick McLaughlin, Edgar Castro, Sean Cox, Kyle Sousa, Ben Cohen, Connor Murphy, Gabe Goldman, Enis Huskic, Natasha DaSilva, Kelley Sousa, Joe Mulherin, Demetri Cassidy, A. Smith, J. Ruci, Jenn Puzzo, I. Valencia, S. Neumann, Sam Minton, K. Almeida, A. Kehoe, Tali Malcolm.