Photo by Simone Obidahday, Jacket staff
Photo by Simone Obidahday, Jacket staff

The Berkeley High School Jacket has long been recognized as one of the best high school newspapers in the country. That reputation comes in part from the story it broke 9 years ago about how Berkeley landlord Lackireddy Bali Reddy was importing girls from India to work as sex slaves in the Bay Area.

The paper is completely independent of the high school. It doesn’t get money from the school district, it elects its own editorial board, and it is produced outside of a formal journalism class. Every other week the 70-person staff produces a 16-page paper covering everything from desk shortages at the school to students posting racial slurs on Facebook.

But if you aren’t a subscriber, or your child isn’t one of the 3,200 students at the school, the inner world of Berkeley High as seen through its student journalists has been a secret.

Until now.

For the first time in its long history, the Jacket is online. Not only are the stories from the current edition posted, but there are special multimedia projects, podcasts, and photos. It’s an interesting peek at an institution that is one of the largest in the city.

And it’s also a savvy move by those involved with the Jacket since journalists today need to know how to use multi-media tools, not just write traditional stories for the newspaper.

In August 2008, the Jacket’s financial manager put out a plea to the community because the Jacket did not have enough money to pay for printing for the year. The community responded generously and the Jacket is on sound financial footing this year. In fact, it is now able to print color, rather than black and white photographs.

Find the Jacket at:

Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...