Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Bringing Global Events into the Schools; Worldwise Is a Tabloid Devoted Exclusively to Educating High School Students about Foreign Affairs

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Bringing Global Events into the Schools; Worldwise Is a Tabloid Devoted Exclusively to Educating High School Students about Foreign Affairs

Article excerpt

ONE MONTH, THIS feisty little newspaper scrutinizes Sorealia. The next issue, it focuses on the Far East. The month after that, it analyzes Islam.

The eight-page paper is Worldwise, a rapidly growing tabloid devoted exclusively to educating high school students about foreign affairs.

From only 5,000 last year, the enterprise has tripled its circulation to 16,500 and expects to hit 30,000 copies by mid-1994. Its goal is to reach 100,000 students nationwide by 1996.

Peter Bird Martin, the newspaper's editor in chief, also runs the South-North News Service and is executive director of the Institute for Current World Affairs. All three non-profit ventures are' headquartered at 220-year-old Wheelock House on the campus of Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.

Martin, formerly a senior editor at Time, said Worldwise is written in a style different from most daily newspapers.

"There are all kinds of writing devices you use in magazine writing that you don't use in newspapers. Stories unfold rather than just run downhill" he said in a recent interview in New Hampshire.

"No matter how good and thorough radio and TV news is, it can't convey the depth that newspapers can. With Worldwise, we're trying to get kids hooked on newspapers, so the stuff can't be boring" he added, "It's a lot cheaper than a $40 textbook."

Worldwise, which carries no advertising, is funded by a $600,000 commitment from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Of that amount, $200,000 is a direct grant and $400,000 is a low-interest loan to be repaid from net revenues.

During its first year, the paper also got support from the New York Times Foundation, the Philip Graham Fund of the Washington Post and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

Designed as a supplement to daily newspapers,Worldwise comes out nine times a year, from September to May. It costs $6.15 per student per school year when ordered in bulk; each classroom subscription also includes Word to the Wise, a teacher's guide packed with suggestions for class assignments, quizzes and current-events discussions.

The issues are edited by veteran journalists who come to Hanover for three-month stints and draw on their years of experience. Many of them are retired colleagues of Martin's.

Recent Worldwise managing editors include Milton Orshefsky and Campbell Geeslin, both senior editors at Life, and Richard Dudman, former Washington and foreign correspondent for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Martin, 63, said Worldwise provides the background on complicated issues that daily papers rarely provide. Each edition focuses on a particular subject or geographic region of current interest.

For instance, a recent Worldwise was entitled "Asia's Economic Miracle" and was packed with 23 articles and a two-page center spread with a large map and the latest statistics on 15 Pacific Rim nations. …

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