Herald partners with students at PHS in new journalists program

Grant from Foundation funds reporting


The Peekskill Herald is the recipient of a grant for student journalists through the JD McManus Foundation. Student journalists from Peekskill High School’s school newspaper, the Mercury, will be mentored by Herald Publisher Regina Clarkin on reporting and writing stories of interest to Herald readers.  

The $2,000 grant is the first one for the newly formed nonprofit Peekskill Herald.  Jason McManus was managing editor at Time Magazine and then went on to be the editor-in-chief of Time-Warner and served on the Board of Directors of the Cold Spring based Highlands Current nonprofit newspaper.  His widow, Deborah McManus, gave the grant to Peekskill Herald as a way to encourage and train aspiring journalists.   “Everyone who is interested in the whole picture of what’s happening in our complicated world needs good journalism.  This was Jason’s pursuit and career for forty-plus years.  He always encouraged others to seek the truths of all important issues and we are delighted to encourage these new reporters from Peekskill High School.”

 The student journalist program is modeled on a similar program the Highlands Current newspaper moderates with Haldane High School students, also funded by the McManus Foundation. 

Dr. Cathleen Hannigan, Peekskill High School teacher of English and Laura Belifiore, Peekskill City School District Communications Director, are co-advisors of the Mercury. “It’s a pleasure providing the space and opportunity for students to become directly involved in all aspects of publication,” said Hannigan. 

Peekskill High School’s Mercury student newspaper has been in existence since the 1940s. The image illustrating this story is from a 1949 print edition of the school newspaper. The publication is now online. Students interested in journalism have a history of contributing to local papers, beginning in the 1960s when the Peekskill Evening Star ran full pages of news from the school reported by students. In the 1980s, students at PHS contributed weekly to the Peekskill Herald print publication. “It’s fitting that Peekskill’s newspaper, now in a digital format, will publish stories written by young people who aspire to writing careers,” said Clarkin.