New serial story perfect for NIE

Jan 5, 2015

There are baseball heroes—and then there are legends.

Dizzy Dean stands among the legendary players who have left their mark on America’s game. History remembers Dizzy not only for his prowess on the pitcher’s mound, but also for his character off of it.

Your newspaper can share the story of Dizzy and his brother Paul, Leo Durocher, Joe Medwick, Pepper Martin, Frankie Frisch, Branch Rickey, and the rest of “The Gashouse Gang” in a new serialized story from the National Newspaper Association Foundation and the Missouri Press Foundation.

This is the seventh year that NNA members can take advantage of a free serialized story through the Reading Across the Nation campaign. The goal is to have young readers across the nation reading inside their community newspapers in 2015.

“The Gashouse Gang” will appeal to readers of all ages. The story harkens back to a simpler time—when a sharecropper’s son from Arkansas (or was it Oklahoma? Maybe Mississippi?) could make his way from the Army to the Major Leagues.

“The Gashouse Gang” is a 12-chapter serialized story that may be published by NNA newspapers beginning Jan. 1, 2015, through June 2015. The story is available at no cost during that time through a special partnership between NNAF, the Missouri Press Foundation and author Carolyn Mueller.

If your newspaper is interested in participating in the Reading Across the Nation project, visit and use download code: nnaread.

When you log in using the download code, you will be provided several files to download, all in PDF form, including:

• Rules for publication. These offer a few important guidelines, including a reminder that the story itself cannot be published on an unsecured website. 

• Promotional ad. This ad is intended for publication in your newspaper before the story starts.

• Teacher guide. The teacher guide can be uploaded to your website. Add your newspaper logo on the front page. The guide also may be distributed in print or via e-mail to your teachers. The guide includes learning standards, which will be of great value to all teachers.

• 12 individual story files, one per chapter. The story is provided to you ready to publish. You may add inches to the graphic file to promote sponsors or link teachers to your website. This year’s story is 7.71 by 11.5 inches and includes two newspaper-related activities within each feature.

Before you publish the story, notify your schools and offer to deliver copies of your newspaper for classrooms—if you don’t already.

Find a local sponsor to help provide classroom copies and to cover the value of the space in your newspaper to publish the feature.

Even if you don’t intend to provide classroom newspapers, there is still value in publishing the story for your readers to share with their families. Write a news story or editorial encouraging parents and grandparents to read the story with their children and encourage teachers to read the story aloud in the classroom.

“The Gashouse Gang” author Carolyn Mueller also wrote the 2014 serial, “Lily’s Story,” which was released as a children’s book, “Lily: A True Story of Courage and the Joplin Tornado,” last spring. “The Gashouse Gang” also will be published as a children’s picture book following the Reading Across the Nation project. Learn more about Mueller at

Nick Hayes has illustrated Mueller’s serial stories and the corresponding picture books. Hayes draws political cartoons for the Guardian and New Statesman newspapers and writes graphic novels. His latest book is a study of the Dust Bowl in 1930s America, through the prism of Woody Guthrie, the famous folk singer. He lives in East London. You can learn more about Hayes at

If your newspaper needs help planning, promoting or publishing “The Gashouse Gang,” contact Dawn Kitchell, NNAF’s Newspaper In Education liaison, at 636-932-4301 or