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New Wave on Beach Causes Stir : High School Unhappy About Sharing Newspaper Name With Newcomers

March 09, 1986|DEAN MURPHY | Times Staff Writer

A High Tide rises from a basement classroom on Diamond Street in Redondo Beach every two weeks.

Several miles up the coast in Manhattan Beach, a High Tide rises at about the same time in a second-floor office on Rosecrans Avenue.

The two High Tides, unlike their nautical namesake, are movements of words not oceans. They are newspapers.

But while nature carefully orchestrates its tides into harmonious highs and lows, the journalistic tides of the South Bay seem to be caught in a stormy debate over how many Highs the area can absorb.

The Redondo Union High School High Tide is a twice-a-month student publication that has provided news and information to generations of Sea Hawks for 67 years. A couple of dozen journalism students write and lay out the paper 20 times a year from a bright yellow room in the basement of the school's science building.

High Tide News for the Beach, as the Manhattan Beach paper is formally called, is a twice-a-month community paper that started publishing last month. It is the dream of Brian McClure and Jill Gottesman, who were formerly with the weekly Beach Reporter of Manhattan Beach, who established the slick throw-away as a "positive-energy" alternative for residents of their city, McClure said.

But while the excitement of starting a new newspaper has swept the news and advertising offices of the High Tide in Manhattan Beach, it has prompted calls of foul play from the science building basement several miles to the south.

With years of tradition behind them and copies of school newspapers from the past six decades in their classroom, several journalism students of Redondo High last week spoke harshly about the other High Tide. They say McClure and Gottesman have stolen their paper's name, will siphon away their advertisers and have attempted to capitalize on a "community full of 60 years of Redondo graduates" to attract unknowing readers.

In a letter to McClure and Gottesman, David Sussin, the 18-year-old editor of the student newspaper, last month accused the two of using "bad judgment" and "a total lack of creativity" in choosing the High Tide name. He asked them to change the paper's name.

"Associating yourselves with our newspaper provides unnecessary confusion among businesses that we solicit advertising from," Sussin wrote. "You cannot rely on the name High Tide and its established reputation for your own publication's success; you must rely on your paper's content."

McClure and Gottesman, who recently published their third issue of High Tide, said they were concerned when they first heard from Redondo High about the conflict with the names. McClure, who is publisher, said the paper's staff immediately contacted some readers and advertisers to determine if there really is a conflict.

"I didn't get any public impression that there was a problem," said McClure, 28, who moved to Manhattan Beach three years ago from Washington, D.C., where he helped establish a similar community newspaper. "We circulate in Manhattan Beach and the high school paper has a limited market. It is a closed circulation kind of thing."

McClure and executive editor Gottesman said they did not know about the Redondo High paper when they chose the High Tide name, which they said they registered with the state in January. The high school High Tide has never officially registered or moved to protect its name, school officials said.

McClure said he would change the name of his publication if there was "a clear and present conflict" between the two papers, but he said the staff has too much money and energy invested to change the name for any other reason.

"We are young, too, and we are just starting out," said Gottesman, 26, a graduate of Mira Costa High School and a native of Manhattan Beach. "We are not making money at this point. We are living off our savings."

McClure said the two have spent more than $900 to print advertising rate information, business cards and stationery and to register the paper's name. High Tide distributes 15,000 free copies of the paper in Manhattan Beach every two weeks, he said.

"I am wondering how we got to be such bad guys in this whole thing," McClure said. "It isn't necessary for us to rely on a high school publication for our reputation."

But the journalism students at Redondo High, and their adviser, Margaret Lee, think differently. Lee said a house advertisement in the Feb. 13-27 Manhattan Beach High Tide shows how the paper has attempted to exploit the high school newspaper's reputation.

The ad read: "The spirit of High Tide newspaper has been around a lot longer than you may think. . . . The fact is, we've grown up here, enjoying it all."

McClure denies that the ad was designed with the high school newspaper in mind, saying it was intended to let readers and advertisers know that the new publication has a staff with roots in Manhattan Beach.

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