A Note from the Editors

August 5, 2012

Breaking News, Editorials

As the summer nears its mid-point, the time between one year and the next, the 2011/2012 Blue Dog Press Editors express their thoughts on the past year, and their hopes for the future of Blue Dog.

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Hello everyone,

My name is Elizibeth Ashton, and I am a Blue Dog Editor. To all the students, thank you for your support, you have been a spectacular help at making Blue Dog Press a success! To all of the future Blue Dog members, thank you for helping us carry on.

I have had a wonderful time working at Blue Dog Press, and I hope that many of you will get the chance to experience it as I have. Working from the ground up to create a website out of a blank page gives me a real sense of dedication to this paper – it took a lot of time and work to get it where it is now.

I have learned a lot from my time at Blue Dog. I have had the chance to interview many people, one of my favourite things about the paper. I have interviewed teachers, shop owners, people on the street to get a sense of what is going on and a chance to see things through another person’s perspective. Everything Blue Dog has taught me will linger with me in the future.

Blue Dog Press remains one of my fondest memories from high school and from my grad year. I hope that future students carry on this paper to continue giving others a voice, and strengthen the sense of community within Langley Fine Arts School.

Sincerely,
Elizibeth Ashton, Blue Dog Press Editor.

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Just because the BlueDog Press editors are graduating doesn’t mean BlueDog Press won’t continue on in similar fashion.  I think I speak for my fellow editors and staff members that the next team is going to do an equally stellar job. Wednesdays with BlueDog was a lot of fun, but also a great challenge to focus and keep on task. I have gotten to know these girls more then anyone else, and they are both beautiful and talented. We have always said that one of the greatest features of BlueDog was the ability to have a permanent time capsule because we can archive so much with the internet. With the effort of future BlueDog teams, Langley Fine Arts will always live on.
Thank you again,
Arden
Editor
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To the members of Langley Fine Arts School, new, old, young, and getting on in years. 
Thank you for your continued support of the the staff and editors of Blue Dog Press. It has been a real honour to help build up such a wonderful thing that can be shared with our whole school community. I urge you to continue your support as this is not the end for this whirl of a project but just the beginning.
Thank you again for everything and I hope you each in turn have seen the product of the staff’s hard work and dedication to the cause.
-Lucy Clarkson
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This was a very crazy idea.

It started in the Writing Major, between 2010 and 2011. Ms Knittel had given the students a package of “Big Projects” that they could work on for the remainder of the year. One of them was an online school newspaper. The idea was intriguing at the time, but very few students were interested in such an endeavour. The concept was, to the eyes of the class, dropped.

Then, in September of 2011, a revival occurred. Ms Knittel had worked over the summer building an online platform, along with Ms. Alison Stuart – a technologically advanced biologist and teacher. This beginning website was called Blue Dog Press – it later went through several name changes, including the LFAS Chronicle and the LFAS Gazette, before it returned to the amusing and confusing title – and for several months engulfed the lives of four students: Rebecca Nicolato, Elizibeth Ashton, Arden Holmes, and myself.

All of us were Writing Majors and we spent many class hours that should have been devoted to poetry working on the website. Learning which buttons did what, how to get rid of double spacing, what an excerpt was, where we should film interviews, what we should ask during the interviews; all of these things were vital to the success of the paper. So much time was spent on learning in the beginning, and so little spent on creating, that it was halfway through the year before we had enough substance to release our precious paper to the world.

And when we did, I’m pretty sure everyone laughed at us. A gaggle of Grade 12 girls walking around with blue balloons, blue face paint, blue candy, and Blue Dog Press business cards, interrupting elementary classes and accosting high school students eating lunch.

The next Blue Dog Press meeting, we had our largest number of staff yet. Nine of us sat down at the tables we rearranged in Ms Knittel’s room, and toasted the success of our ridiculous venture with 7-Up and Pop Rocks. After that night the hard work began. Before, we had been able to report without fear of being late – articles on art openings went up months after the fact, interviews were delayed until the post was perfect, Arts Matter pieces waited until all the elements were waiting in line. Now, we had to actually report on things in a timely manner. The stress was overwhelming.

And somehow, our small staff managed to keep things alive. We saw it start to grow. The day after the first article about “Escape from Ragnaroc Mountain” was published, the website received twice as many views, with students looking to find pictures of themselves. The same for the dance shows and the art shows. People began liking our posts, commenting, interacting with what we had done. It was completely bizzare.

And that sums up the history of Blue Dog Press. It was completely bizzare.

But of course, such strangeness could not have been had without the fanatic work and effort of Ms Knittel and Ms Stuart. These women were the driving force behind the whole project. They slaved for days over the layout of the site, experimented with 15 shades of blue for the background, wrote the very first filler articles for an empty newspaper. My gratitude must be expressed to Ms. Stuart, who isn’t affiliated with Langley Fine Arts, other than with her friendship with Ms Knittel. She expended so much energy creating, and helping us learn. We would have been technologically drowning without her.

Ms Knittel, however, is the reason this all came to be. It was because of her that Blue Dog Press was born, and because of her that the very first editors joined, and because of her that we stuck with it. (It is also because of her that we had to walk around with blue balloons.) She stayed late after school for us; our meetings started at 5:30 and she would be in her classroom from 3:07 onwards, available to help. She pulled together the equipment, bought our domain name, and provided us with cookies and snacks when we were too weak to carry on. She taught us the basics of writing for the news, the elements of interviewing, and how to set up the camera so the flash didn’t go off. She was a mentor, and a teacher, and a very good friend. Though she had to pull back during the teacher job action, she never stopped pushing Blue Dog forward.

Other sentiments of gratitude must be expressed towards Rebecca Lee, who created the iconic Blue Dog, Sir Clifton, and the rest of  Ms. Ushers’s Digital Design class who worked on models of blue canines. To Mr Bonnar, who encouraged this project to go forward, a special thanks is given, because without his support nothing would have ever happened. And to every alumni who sent us their interviews, to every teacher that allowed pictures to be taken in class and podcasts recorded, to every person in the theatre who let us in to set up before a show, to every student who did something worth recording, thank you. Without you, we would have a really cool looking website with nothing in it.

And of course, to every past staff member of Blue Dog Press. Whether you were a member for a week, a couple months, or the entirety of its existence, Blue Dog Press would not be the same without you. Each person expanded the horizons of the paper, and paved the way for the new Blue Doggers. To you, future editors, I wish you luck. It’s going to be  hard. It’s going to be  fun. It’s going to be confusing. It’s going to be very, very hard. I hope you can handle it; the future of Blue Dog rests on your shoulders.

I resign my post. It has been a long, and glorious battle.
Grace Kennedy
Chief Editor
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