Teens in Print is the only citywide youth newspaper written by and for Boston public secondary school students. Launched in 2004 and published five times a year, Teens in Print is available in Boston high schools, libraries, community centers, and online. Recently, we got to speak to one Teens in Print student—or “TiPster”—Melanie Baez.

Melanie Baez, a regular Teens in Print (TiP) writer and artist, joined TiP when she picked up a copy from school and realized it was missing something—a comic!

Today, she is more than just a comic artist but both an artist and a writer. Melanie approaches the writing process in the same way that she approaches drawing. She begins with something attention grabbing and lets the rest flow, leaving the editing for later.

At first, Melanie said she wasn’t interested in the journalism, but now she admits that she enjoys writing articles. The article she is most proud of is, “Headbanger music, Spanish style.” It’s about a Spanish heavy metal song that’s about a myth. Melanie wanted to remind readers that “Headbanger music” is more than just screaming but have meaningful lyrics.

TiP has helped Melanie create a new flow of inspiration for writing and art. Never having been influenced by “real life stuff”—as she calls it—Melanie now uses her writing to create new artwork: “I feel like my art and TiP have really connected.”

Motivated by “spreading the word,” Melanie uses her writing to talk about issues she is passionate about. She finds her voice when she focuses on topics related to LGBTQ rights and women’s rights.

TiP, she says, has taught her many important tools that will help her in college, such as editing and how to find valid sources online and in person.

She laughs as she says, “One big thing TiP has taught me is that I always need to check my work,” admitting that she was guilty of throwing something on a page and declaring it “done.”
After high school, Melanie plans to go to college to study animation and graphic design. She aspires to one day work for a major animation studio like Disney or Pixar.