Students denied editorships start own paper

CONNECTICUT — Ben Popik and Brendan Sullivan were set\nto be editors of their school’s student newspaper this year, but\nthey were missing one thing: an adviser.

The previous adviser had quit after the two Simsbury High School\nseniors slipped a coded message about the head football coach\ninto the newspaper last spring. Popik and Sullivan believed school\nofficials were dragging their feet in hiring a new adviser because\nthey did not want the two students to become editors.

The students’ parents hired an attorney in June to force the\nschool to find a new adviser for the newspaper. An adviser was\nhired, but Popik and Sullivan were told they could not assume\ntheir editorships — positions they had been elected to — until\nDecember.

Popik and Sullivan chose to leave the newspaper, opting to\npublish their own independent newspaper, The Phorum, instead.\n

By mid-October, they had published two issues. They are selling\nadvertising and collecting donations to fund the printing of the\npaper. Popik said The Phorum has a staff of about 20 writers,\nseveral of whom abandoned the school-sponsored newspaper to work\nfor The Phorum.

“It’s a forum, which the [school] newspaper really isn’t,”\nPopik said. “That’s what we look to create.”

Popik said he and Sullivan did not take action against the\nschool to get their positions on the school newspaper back because\nthey did not want them back.

“We’ve been able to make much more of a statement by not\ngoing back and by putting out the separate newspaper,” he\nsaid. “[The Phorum] probably has more readership than\nthe school newspaper does at this point”