It’s time once again to dip into the ’80s and revisit another issue of the Raider Record, the junior high school paper of which I was copy editor between 1985 and 1987. As always, you can find every issue from that period scanned in PDF form here, or you can view or download this specific issue here. Going through and scanning these, lots of memories came bubbling up to the surface, like the fizz atop a freshly-poured glass of New Coke, that I thought would be entertaining to record for posterity here.
If you’re waiting for a Big Story, and your paper goes out with a dateline of January 17, 1986… well, give it about eleven days and something really big will happen. In retrospect, it’s kind of the same effect as looking at a newspaper from September 1st, 2001. Here’s what jumps out at me:
- “It’s better to lose a friend than your life” (page 2). With all due respect to the writer… well, hey. We were kids, we had very limited column space, and we had “adult oversight” that happened between what we considered a finished product and what got printed. In hindsight…it’s not a very nuanced handling of the topic. But as a parent now myself… yeah, I’d probably print the same thing that was printed in 1986. Never mind.
- Similarly, page 3’s “Alcoholism Test”. Holy cow, this was kind of a dark issue for a junior high paper. This was about the time when my own blinders were coming off about this sort of thing, but…wow.
- More a technical note than anything, but the question of how to work photos into the paper was an area of constant experimentation; the limitations of the computer program we were using left us with photos taped or pasted to the final printed layout. This was an area where traditional pasteboard layouts still had us beat. I don’t recall if the photos were halftoned or not; I honestly can’t tell from these scans. Surely they had to have been. I can’t even remember where the papers were being printed; part of me thinks they were being taken to the print shop at Northside. (Might’ve been Southside – I honestly can’t recall – but most Kimmons students went on to Northside, along with students from Darby Junior High. Chaffin and Ramsey students generally wound up at Southside.)
A few days after this paper came out, Challenger exploded (while we were all in school, no less; I think I was in civics when one of those big A/V carts, a giant, rolling monolith of metal, strapped-down TV, and already-out-of-date top-loading VCR, was solemnly rolled into he classroom and we were told to pay attention as the instant replays started on CNN. I was always a huge fan of the space program and space exploration in general; I was devastated. The shuttle wouldn’t fly again until I was in high school. I was also naive enough to think that was 1986 ruined for me right then and there. (More on that later.)