The Jacket is the award-winning student newspaper of Berkeley High School in California. The paper is published every other Friday, and includes five sections that cover local events at the high school and current issues in the world. The staff of The Jacket includes more than one hundred student editors, reporters, photographers, and columnists, as well as one faculty advisor. The Jacket‘s editorial board is composed of about twenty-five students who are elected by the previous year’s senior editors. Many of the current editorial board are pictured on the Masthead page. The name of the paper is taken from Berkeley High School’s mascot, the yellowjacket.
The Jacket is a recipient of numerous awards including ones from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association; They have been awarded a Gold Crown Award in 2010, a Silver Crown Award in 2017 and 2018, and a Gold Medal in 2017. In addition, they were a finalist for the 2018 National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker Award.
1912 – Jacket Founded
The Jacket was founded in 1912 at Berkeley High School by Edwin Elam, Jr. and Arthur Earll.
1999 – Sex Trafficking in Berkeley
In the late 1990s, the paper gained widespread prominence after reporters Megan Greenwell and Iliana Montauk broke a story in Berkeley that resulted in criminal prosecution. The Jacket first reported that local business-owner Lakireddy Bali Reddy and his family were importing young women from India to work as sex slaves after one such woman died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a Berkeley apartment complex.
2000 – Journalist of the Year
In 2000, The Jacket staff was named Journalist of the Year by the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists, becoming the first-ever non-professional winner of the SPJ’s highest honor.
2010 – Gold Crown
The Jacket was awarded the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Gold Crown award in 2010.
2012 – 100th Anniversary
The Jacket celebrated its 100th anniversary since it was founded in 1912.
2017 – Silver Crown
The Jacket was awarded the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Silver Crown award in 2017.
2017 – Gold Medal
The Jacket was awarded the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Gold Medal award in 2017.
2018 – Silver Crown
The Jacket was awarded the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Silver Crown award in 2018.
2018 – NSPA Finalist
The Jacket was a finalist for the 2018 National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker Award.
When The Jacket first started in 1912, it was called The Berkeley High School Weekly News. The earliest surviving copy of The Weekly News is from October 7, 1912, and can be read online here. Many pre-1950 copies of The Jacket are available at the reference desk of the Downtown Berkeley Public Library.
Edwin Madison Elam, Jr. was The Weekly News‘s founder and first editor in 1912, when he attended Berkeley High School in the class of 1913. He went on to attend the University of California at Berkeley, and graduated in 1917. During his time at UC Berkeley, he worked at The Daily Californian, was a member of the debate club, and on the staff of the Blue & Gold yearbook. Sadly, he was killed in action at the Forest of Argonne during World War I on October 11, 1918. Above are pictures of the 1912-1914 staff of The Weekly News.