The Living Room Times was my unofficial school newspaper from seventh grade through my senior year in high school. I published more than 400 issues, each one created on our family’s Windows 3.1-equipped 1993 Compaq ProLinea.
I made the Times in Microsoft Publisher, or, in its very early days, Microsoft Write. Typically, I would print one or a handful of copies, bring them into school and pass them around among my friends and classmates.
The first issue was published on December 27, 1993; the final issue was published on June 23, 1999. In between, the newspaper was featured repeatedly in the Hartford Courant and other local media, and became a mainstay of student life, first at Martin Kellogg Middle School and then at Newington High School.
Now, a decade later, I’ve named my blog after the LRT — and created an online archive of selected issues of the old newspaper, organized by schoolyear:
The 5 1/2-year run of The Living Room Times was an important chapter of my life in many ways. Among other things, the LRT turned me on to journalism, a field which I would ultimately earn a Bachelor’s Degree in; it helped spur my evolution from tormented geek to “popular nerd” and Homecoming King; it turned me into a small-town media monopolist (I became the editor of Newington High’s official school paper, Scribe, starting in my sophomore year); it gave me an early taste of quasi-fame, foreshadowing my bloggy endeavors to come; and it ultimately helped me get a scholarship to USC (which, in turn, ultimately led me down the winding road toward law school).
The Times also spawned an annual tradition that continues to this day, one that has kept the LRT “brand” alive during the decade between the newspaper’s final issue and the launch of this blog. That tradition, of course, is the Living Room Times college basketball pools. The first such pool — really a “moneyless” contest, no cash involved — was held in 1996, my freshman year at NHS. The 2010 pools, men’s and women’s, will be the 15th annual.
What follows are an assortment of links related to the history of The Living Room Times. More detailed narratives of each schoolyear’s LRT history are in the right-hand columns of the above-linked “Back Issues” archive pages: 7th grade, 8th grade, 9th grade, 10th grade, 11th grade and 12th grade.
The LRT in the News
The Living Room Times was featured in local print publications on several different occasions, including two appearances in the Hartford Courant’s statewide edition. See for yourself at the links below:
• Eighth-Grader Publishes His Own Newspaper, Newington Town Crier, March 24, 1995
• All the school news he sees fit to print, Hartford Courant, February 13, 1996
• Student poll puts Clinton at the top, Perot second, Hartford Courant, October 19, 1996
• Making the Zine Scene, Connecticut Magazine, February 1997
• Letting the Feelings Out, Hartford Courant, December 6, 1997
LRT NCAA Pools
This section is under construction. When completed, it will contain links to a section on each Living Room Times NCAA Pool from 1996 to the present, complete with standings, pool updates, etc.
The LRT website
On January 31, 1997, midway through my sophomore year, I launched “The Living Room Times Online,” my first-ever website. (I announced this in the February 3, 1997 issue of the LRT newspaper.) The World Wide Web was the hot new thing back then, and I figured my newspaper should have a website, just like other newspapers did. Everybody was doing it!
Eventually I started referring to the site by shortened moniker “LRT Online,” and later I changed its name altogether to “NHS Life & Times,” with the LRT constituting only a “section” of the broader site. But the Times continued to promote the site in its pages, and despite my flirtations with re-branding, it was always really the newspaper’s website.
In the fall of 1997, the LRT website became an outlet for the high school’s collective grief after junior Bob “BoB” Aniello and freshman Jen Partridge died in separate incidents within 24 hours of one another. The Bob & Jen memorial page received hundreds of hits and dozens of guestbook comments, as well as appreciative comments from the deceased students’ families, and was the subject of the above-mentioned Hartford Courant article in December 1997. Although most of the old LRT website no longer exists, the Bob & Jen memorial is still online, and I noted the tenth anniversary of the dual tragedies on my blog in 2007.
Anyway, I continued to update the Living Room Times website through the end of my senior year. Here is an archived version (with some graphics missing) of my homepage as it appeared in March 1998. And here it is in its final form, as of summer 1999, after graduation. I retired the site after graduating from NHS, and moved on to the blog precursors discussed here.
LRT Odds & Ends
This section is under construction. When completed, it link to miscellaneous photos, videos, and other “stuff” relating to the Living Room Times.
• Blog History: A separate section tracing the history of my blogging endeavors from 2002-present.
• More Journalism: Beyond the LRT and the blog, sections on my work for Scribe, The Daily Trojan, The Whiteboard and other publications.
The write-up above states that “I published more than 400 issues” of The Living Room Times. I should note that the contemporaneous count of Times issues only went up to 371, as reflected on the front page of the final issue. However, I believe that count was missing some issues from 1994 and 1995 (I did not start keeping track until August of ‘95). In addition, there were numerous “Living Room Times Binder Updates” during my junior and senior years that I neglected to include in the count. I do not know the exact, correct number of issues published, but I am confident it is greater than 400.