I'm starting a technologically oriented publication at my high school, and when dreaming up a slogan, I thought of doing a pun on the New York Times' mantra - "All the news that's fit to print - changing it to "All the news that's fit to println()" (a computer programming reference). One of my editors-to-be, however, suggested it might be some sort of copyright infrigement to take their motto and twist it a little bit - is this indeed the case? If so, what could theoretical consequences be (not that I expect them to enforce them on a couple of high schoolers publishing a magazine for no cost - it's just my school administration might care). If it isn't illegal, should we still go with something else just for the sake of not ripping them off (although I intend for it to come across as just a playful little reference)? Thanks.
It's an advertising slogan and short phrases like these do not enjoy copyright protection.
It is probably a trade mark, however, your use is very unlikely to result in confusion. That is, no reasonable person is going to assume that your school paper is associated with The NY Times.
The slogan was coined long enough ago that it is not protected by copyright. Before going any further, you should also beware of trademark protection, since it is a (live) registered trademark of the New York Times.