Back in March 7-9, of 2013, the Duluth East Daredevils decided to further spread the ideals and messages of For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology (FIRST) by writing articles every day during both the Northern Lights and Lake Superior Regionals. Unable to monitor such large competitions with almost 100 teams, so the Daredevils recruited members from another robotics team in order to fully cover both events. That team was Team 2220, Blue Twilight, from Eagan, MN. Thus, the combined team members decided to call the project “BlueDevil Press”. Together they created a team of novice reporters, photographers, and writers, in order to document the regionals while at the same time receiving journalism training from the staff of the Duluth News Tribune. The collective articles that they had written were printed in the local Duluth News Tribune for the Twin Ports area which reaches 90,000+ readers.
Six weeks before the regionals, they had the idea to publish a robotics segment in the local paper in collaboration with the editor. This section became a double-sided sheet of newsprint paper, or wrap, that came around the newspaper itself. In addition to the wrap, they were offered more article space in the paper on Friday and Saturday. Six weeks of preparation for the feature consisted of brainstorming sessions, Skyping from both sides, fundraising for the wrap, and chasing down robotics stories from around the U.S.
The Duluth News Tribune was a huge help in this endeavor, showing everyone the ropes in the newspaper world. Without the support of the Tribune, these articles would literally not have been possible. Pre-publication they met with the current head editor of the News Tribune at the time, to discuss the finer points of reporting in an unbiased fashion; as well as learning how to interview, and plan out the paper’s format. The Daredevils and Blue Twilight used (and still do) Google Drive to store articles and make joint editing easier. Articles were screened both through Drive by other teams and with the editor himself.
During the regionals, both teams interviewed people in order to formulate stories for the next day’s articles through live reporting. The current day’s paper, featuring BlueDevil Press articles, was handed out for free, to all of the teams in the pits as well as event goers. The wrap will still be distributed to spectators at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC).
We hope you enjoy reading updates on our new blog, we look forward to sharing lots of content with you.
Make sure to watch for the newspaper wrap on Thursday, February 26, before competition. Articles will also periodically appear in the Duluth News Tribune as the competition progresses through Friday 27, and Saturday 28.