All about the Best School Newspaper Awards 2003

Star-NiE and Hotlink from Maxis, in cooperation with the Education Ministry, present: 

Your school and community are always abuzz with news and events. Be your class reporter and get a scoop on the most exciting goings -on around you and vie for the Best School Newspaper Awards 2003. 


Design a four-page tabloid size school newspaper. 


P: Primary (Years 1-6) 

LS: Lower Secondary (Forms 1-3) 

US: Upper Secondary (Forms 4-6) 


  • Student level:  

    A class party worth RM500  

  • Teacher-coordinator level:  

    A dictionary worth RM80(Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English) 

  • Grand prize level: 

    The top 13 schools will win RM1,000 each to be used for the improvement of the school. 



    June 18: Contest Launch 

    July 14: Deadline for Registration(You can download the entry form online by clicking on this link (in .pdf format) and fax to us at 03-79554039). 

    July 27: Registration list published 

    Aug 30: Closing date 

    Sept 14: Winners list published 

    Sept 21-24: Prizes collected by contest coordinators. 

    Working as a team 

    ReporterGathers news and writes stories.Reporters should do research and come up with good questions. 

    PhotographerTakes photographs, writes captions about the people, places or things shown in the picture. 

    A good news photographer is able to see an ordinary thing or event from a new, exciting angle. He is able to frame the subject well so that the main focus of the picture is clear. He goes for candid shots that capture feelings, action, emotion, drama or humour and avoids static or posed shots. 


    Decides on what goes into the newspaper.The editor gives reporters their assignments, with a "brief" or instructions on how to approach the story. 

    The editor checks the facts in the stories, is the style consistent? If the article starts with the present tense, it should not switch to the past tense halfway. 

    The editor also checks that the story does not defame anyone by saying something bad about that person unfairly. 


    Assists the editor by checking the stories, laying out the page and fitting the stories and the best pictures into the available space. 

    The sub-editor also writes catchy headlines and sub-headings for the stories. 


    Every page should have a lead story, that is, the one that grabs the attention of the reader.  

    This story is usually placed at the top. Of course, the "Page One Lead" is the most important story in the whole newspaper. 


    A good page layout has the right balance of text and graphics. A sub-editor tries to vary the layout for each page so that the reader stays interested. 


    Designs the masthead, graphics and sometimes the advertisements. 

    When designing an ad, he considers what the product is offering and the target market, and writes a strong headline for the ad. 

    He keeps it simple, yet creative, and gives only relevant information. 

    Tips on how to produce the Best School Newspaper 

    Before you roll up your sleeves to begin your journalistic work, read the following instructions carefully  

    Suggestion: You can put up this poster on the class noticeboard for constant reference 

    If you are not sure what a ``four-page, tabloid-size newspaper'' is, follow these instructions:  

    Use A3-size photostating paper (not art block, please). You can get this from any stationery shop. Take two sheets, and tape them together along one side. You now have a four-page newspaper. 

    If you want a thicker newspaper, you can paste two sheets of A3 paper back-to-back. Do this again with another two sheets. Now tape them together along one side, as above. 

    To make your newspaper look like the real thing, you are advised to scan the pages of The Star before you begin. Get an idea of the format, layout, position of advertisements, type-faces and type sizes, photographs, etc.  

    Identify the following newspaper elements on the front page: masthead, headline, sub-heading, dateline, caption, byline, jumpline and blurb. 

    It is advisable to use straps or headings for specific sections (eg: school, community, letters/opinion, sports) for each page or half-page, so that the content will be more organised. 

    Texts should be neatly written or printed in an easy-to-read, large type-face. (The size of The Star's text is 9 points; yours should be much larger.) 

    The use of computers is encouraged, but electronically laid-out entries will not gain any advantage over neat, hand-done entries. 

    You will notice that newspaper pages have columns. How many columns do you want for your paper? Should it have more pictures and illustrations, or more text? You will also have to decide how many advertisements will go on a page and what size they should be.Deadlines: You must decide when each job must be completed and stick to your deadlines. 

    Individual or group 

    Putting a newspaper together requires many different skills, so group work is recommended. But how many groups in a class? The teacher must decide based on the size and proficiency level of the class. 

    The teacher may divide a class of 40 into, say, four groups, and do ONE of the following: 

  • Have each group produce one page and then paste the four pages together to form the complete newspaper, OR
  • Give each group a different task (such as reporting, layout, design, etc.) so that every group contributes a different skill to create one newspaper, OR
  • Have each group produce one newspaper, and select the best one for submission. 


    Marks will be awarded according to the following scheme.  

    Relevance of news stories/features : 25Quality of writing/editing : 25Picture choice and impact : 20Layout : 20Masthead : 5Graphics : 5TOTAL : 100 

    Get organised 

    Now that you have organised yourselvesyour newspaper is all set to be filled up creatively. 

    Deciding what is news 

  • A name that fits 

    First, take time to choose a suitable masthead, or newspaper name for your school's newspaper. It should be a name that your whole class or group agrees on. 

  • What goes inside 

    Since it is a school newspaper, the focus of the news should be the school and the community around it. 

    Here are some suggested news items: 

  • EVENTS like your school's Sports Day, a funfair, a festive celebration in your neighbourhood or a concert in your town. 

  • PERSONALITIES like an outstanding student, a popular teacher, someone in your neighbourhood who has an unusual job, or a famous person who came visiting.  

  • TOPICS OF INTEREST e.g., secondary school students may want to write about the latest fads and fashion while primary pupils can concentrate on children's interests, such as favourite toys or pets. 

    Specially for the reporter 

    News stories are all about people. Anything that involves, affects and interests people makes the news. A good news story must have elements of the 4Cs: Correct (Accurate), Concise, Clear and Complete. 

    A reporter has to ask questions to get information. Here are steps to take before an interview: 

    Draw up a list of important questions. To get all the facts in a news story, you should have answers to at least these six basic questions:  

  • Who or what is the news about?
  • What happened?
  • When did it happen?
  • Where did it happen?
  • Why did it happen?
  • How did it happen? 

    If possible, do some research so that you can ask better questions. Get more information from people such as parents, teachers, friends or experts. Check out organisations, information centres, publications and the Internet. 

    Difference between news and features 

    There are two writing styles in the newspaper : News and Features. 


    A news story is a factual account of something that has happened. (Examples can be found in the main section of The Star.) It is normally written in the past tense and follows the "inverted pyramid" style.  

    The introduction (first one or two paragraphs) answers the "who", "what", "where" and "when" questions (the 4Ws). 

    After that come the "why" and "how".The least important facts and background information are left to the end. 

    Feature stories 

    A feature story covers a topic in depth and is more descriptive than a news story. (Examples are stories on fashion, food, the environment and personality profiles found in StarTwo or StarMag.) 

    Tip: Use a catchy introduction, but make sure it is suitable for your story. Use more active sentences than passive ones. 

    Rules and Regulations 

    1. The Best School Newspaper Awards 2003 is open to all primary and secondary school students in Malaysia. Participation is through schools only. 

    2. Each school must submit at least 5 entries to qualify. Every school that participates will win ONE class party worth RM500 for each category (P, LS & US). The best entry or entries (if the school enters for both categories) will be submitted for judging at the Grand Prize level.  

    3. Participation is on a class-basis only and should be supervised by the class English language teacher. Each participating class must produce a 4-page, A3-size newspaper as proof of work done. 

    4. Entries from individuals and tuition centres will not be entertained.  

    5. Schools should register by July 14. The final date for submission of entries is Aug 30. 

    6. The registration list will be published on July 27 in StarEducation. Schools should check to ensure they are on the list. 

    7. Each school must appoint one Contest Coordinator (teacher-in-charge) who coordinates the contest in school and submits the entries.  

    8. The newspaper should have its own name (masthead) and should contain four or more items cut out from The Star e.g., advertisements, the weather report, comic strips, TV programmes, news photos, etc.  

    9. Each page should also have the students own stories. Stories may be on school/ community events and personalities. Each page must contain at least one photograph/picture/drawing/graphics with its caption. 

    10. At least one story in the newspaper MUST be devoted to a feature article written based on research from the Internet (sources must be attributed). 

    11. Fiction or fictitious articles will not be allowed. The reason is that it is unfair to pitch imaginative reports against real ones, and judging one against the other would be difficult. 

    12. A The Best School Newspaper Awards 2003 logo cut out from The Star must be pasted in the top right-hand corner of the front page (page 1) of the newspaper.  

    The Registration Box with all the details filled in, must be pasted in the top right-hand corner of the back page (page 4) of the newspaper. 

    13. The front page must include the Hotlink from Maxis bottom panel advertisement which can be cut out ONLY from the June, July or August issues of the Star-NiE supplements. 

    14. Schools must select ONE entry in each category for the judging of Grand Prize winners. That entry must be clearly marked with a tick in the "Chosen for Grand Prize Level judging" box found in the Registration Box. 

    15. Contest Coordinators must submit at least five entries for each category as proof of participation, including the winning school entry/entries by Aug 30, 2003. The Contest Coordinator will receive a Coordinator Level prize. 

    16. The list of schools or classes receiving their RM500 class party will be published on Sept 14, 2003 in StarEducation. 

    17. There are a total of 13 Grand Prizes: 3 will be selected from Category P, while 5 each will be selected from Categories LS and US.  

    18. The best entry from each of the Categories will be awarded The Best School Newspaper Award in their respective categories. 

    19. Proof of postage is not proof of receipt. 

    20. The judges' decision is final. All winning entries will become the property of the contest organisers and may be used for publicity purposes in future. 

    The entry form 

    You can download the entry form online by clicking on this link (in .pdf format) and fax to us at 03-79554039.


  • For enquiries about the contest, please call Arnie Lim at 03-7967 1298 or Joanne Lim at 03-7967 1388 ext 1810. 


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