Rivalry between The Falcon and The Talisman characterized by ‘theft’

March 9, 2018 — by Anna Novoselov

Every few weeks, community members can be seen devouring a freshly printed copy of the Saratoga Falcon, soaking in indispensable news, passionate opinion pieces, entertainment scoops and eye-opening tales. Similarly, at the end of each year, jaws drop from seeing the beautiful photos and graphics in the Talisman yearbook and recall the highlights of the year.

While readers enjoy both publications, a “friendly” rivalry exists between the two staffs since they occupy the same room and use the same computers.

“We usually make fun of each other by saying things like ‘nobody reads the newspaper’ or ‘yearbook is so easy,’”  Talisman editor-in-chief senior Charles Qi said. “We joke with each other by comparing our work loads and importance in school.”

Tensions sometimes break out during newspaper deadline nights, late Thursday nights the week before the issue comes out, when newspaper staffers finish stories and layouts. Viewing the night as their own, newspaper staffers have complained of the yearbook staff invading and stealing delicious, hard-earned food paid for by the Falcon staff.

“We pay for our food. So they have no right to steal it,” Falcon editor-in-chief senior Kyle Wang said. “When someone from yearbook walks into newspaper, we don’t want them here.”

However, Talisman editor-in-chief senior Lillian Zeng said that yearbook ultimately funds the newspaper and therefore deserves something in return. While newspapers are distributed for free, earning only a small amount of money from ads, the yearbook makes money from selling senior ads. The $15,000- 25,000 it generates per year mainly pays for the printing costs of newspaper, which can run as high as $20,000 annually. By contrast, the Falcon earns only about $4,000- 5,000 per year in advertising.

“Yearbook makes all the money; we pay for newspapers to be printed. So they can’t get mad at us for stealing their deadline night food,” said Zeng. (Zeng and the three other editors-in-chief all do pay the asked-for $75 contribution for the deadline night food since they attended most of these sessions.)

Qi also unsuccessfully attempted to abate the theft, stating that yearbook students “don’t fight for food because there’s always enough to go around.”

Apart from accusations of stealing food, Wang said that the Talisman has robbed the newspaper of valuable staff members. For instance, a junior graphics editor Kitty Huang, whom he jokingly refers to as “traitor,” left newspaper for yearbook due to its increased emphasis on visuals.

“I want to clarify that I transferred from newspaper not because I betrayed it, but because yearbooks suits my interests and graphic abilities,” Huang said.

Qi claims that newspaper students are the real thieves.

“In the newspaper, ‘take a pic from the yearbook’ is heard pretty often. In yearbook, ‘take a pic from newspaper’ is heard only once in a blue moon,” Qi said. “If you’re going to steal from us, then at least pay us back.”

The split between the publications heightens at the end of each year when beginning students in the Journalism One students are faced with a life-altering decision: newspaper or yearbook? They are forced to choose their side in the battle for the status of the superior publication.

In the newspaper, individuals with various interests can all find something to captivate them in the glorious 24 pages. The Falcon covers a wide array of topics, ranging from localized accounts to reports on trends and political matters. The range of story possibilities and the chance to produce a top-quality publication every month is what draws numerous students to sign up for newspaper.

“With newspaper you can be more opinionated,” senior School Scope editor Michelle Lee said. “You have more options on choosing what you want to write about and who you want to focus on.”

However, others are drawn to yearbook due to its emphasis on layout and visuals.

“You get to work with colors, art and design,”  Qi said.

Additionally, yearbook snapshots important events during the school year, capturing memories that might otherwise be forgotten.

“Everyone keeps [the yearbook] and cherishes it for a long time,” Zeng said. “It’s pretty special to document those special moments.”

Despite the differences and the competition between newspaper and yearbook, the two are united through a love of journalism.

“Despite [the rivalry],” Zeng said, “I think we all have respect for each other in our hearts.”


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