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.
This project and experience is completely replicable everywhere, and has the ability to further propel the mission of FIRST worldwide. Teams don’t have to have a paper to start either; they can start small, by utilizing city or state blogs, or producing digitized newspaper articles. These types of projects not only allow community members get to read more about FIRST, but the students involved get a taste of publication work in the real world. With some thought, effort, and a lot of energy, any team could replicate this endeavor.