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March 31, 2003

The Tattoo "kicked ass" in press contest 

SPRINGFIELD , Mass. – Beating out more than 2,200 competitors, seven student writers for The Tattoo recently earned journalism awards from the Scholastic Press Forum.

“The Tattoo kicked ass,” said Will Hughes, chairman of the communications department at the American International College in Springfield , Mass. , which has sponsors the yearly contest.

In addition to the student awards, The Tattoo was also named as one of the region’s top student newspapers, which Hughes compared to reaching the Final Four in the NCAA basketball tournament.

Hughes said The Tattoo “has always been outstanding and cutting edge” in its work and in the way it operates outside the normal bounds of scholastic journalism. Its latest issue appears on page A7 today.

“I like the synergistic relationship you have with the Bristol paper. It’s a tremendous thing,” Hughes said.

Two Bristol Eastern High School students – sophomore Joe Keo and senior Mike Nguyen – won two awards each.

Keo was honored in the features category for a four-page series he wrote in January called “Crashing in Cambodia ” that told about his journey last summer to his parents’ homeland.

Keo and Nguyen and Eastern freshman Katie Haire shared a news feature writing award for their work last year on plans for a skate park in Bristol .

Nguyen, a reality television fan, also took home a medal in the reviewing category for a piece he wrote praising “American Idol.”

Three students shared the honors for a humorous but hard-hitting opinion column they co-wrote last year called “McDonald’s loves to make you fat.”

Eastern sophomores Katie Jordan and Sara Greene shared the opinion column win with Eastern senior Sam Yosafi.

Hughes said he is always impressed “with how well the kids work as a team” on Tattoo stories and even columns like the McDonald’s piece.

Another Tattoo writer, T.J. O’Connor of Avon High School , collected a sports feature writing award for his “Firsthand look at ESPN” that appeared last fall and recounted his experiences at the Bristol-based company.

Hughes, a former reporter and editor, said The Tattoo stands out in part because he can tell from reading it that “newspaper people work with them” to polish stories and focus them for general readers.

The Scholastic Press Forum contest draws entries from across New England , New York and as far away as Pittsburgh .

The Tattoo is a student‑written page published in The Press on occasional Mondays. It is not affiliated with any school, but accepts all teen writers, artists and photographers interested in learning the craft.

During weekly Thursday night sessions at the paper, The Tattoo's volunteer members learn about journalism from two veteran Press reporters who donate their time, Jackie Majerus and Steve Collins.

While it helps to live in the Bristol area, teens from all over the world can also be part of the group. For information, contact Majerus or Collins at 523-9632.

The prize-winning stories, cartoons and much more are featured on The Tattoo's web site at

Here are links to the winning entries:


Crashing in Cambodia With Joe Keo - Main Story


Superstar or stinko - the choice is yours on American Idol


McDonalds loves to make you fat

Sports feature

A firsthand look inside ESPN

News feature

Bristol skatepark coverage



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