Last week's Best School Newspaper Awards 2003 workshop conducted by The Star news editor Wong Sai Wan and Star Online editor Soo Ewe Jin at Menara Star proved to be a hit among students eager to start work on their own school newspapers.
Students and teachers had the opportunity to pose many questions about the contest and get tips on how they could improve their entries.
The concept of the inverted pyramid was introduced for the first time to many student “reporters” as Wong explained how the most important facts in a story are placed on top while less important facts are put further down the pyramid. Soo added that this makes editing easier when some stories have to be cut short during the layout process.
Wong also highlighted how each newspaper entry should include a story done through Internet research. He said that students must attribute the specific websites used either within the story itself or place them at the end of the article by stating the exact URL or website address.
Several students also asked whether they could design their own advertisements in their newspaper. Soo assured them that they could do so, provided they include the Hotlink advertisement, which they can cut out from The Star.
During the workshop, examples of other school newspapers from Malaysia and Australia were displayed to give students a good idea of how to create their own.
Meanwhile, the next piece of news will certainly bring cheer to small schools with an insufficient number of classes to qualify for a class party. The organisers have decided that if that is the case, the school will be considered on the same basis as the Primary (P) category and they will be eligible for ONE class party provided there are five or more classes taking part. However, the principal or head of the school will have to write a letter verifying that the school is a small school with an insufficient number of classes for either the LS or US categories.
Below are more enquiries about the contest and the answers.
Q1: I have been told that the faxed copy of the school's registration form is very blur. Could you provide a downloadable form that I can print out and fax?
The form may be downloaded from the Star-NiE webpage. Log on to www.thestar.com.my to get into the NiE page. You can print the registration form and fax it to 03-7955 4039
Q2: There is only one class in my school that's interested in participating in the contest. Can that one class work together to produce five entries to qualify for the contest?
Unfortunately you can't. Your teacher will still have to pick the best to represent your class. You could still send us your single class entry – you won't qualify for the class party (at school level) but you'll have a shot at the national level prizes.
Perhaps you could persuade the other teachers to get their students involved as the contest will help their students to develop their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills, not to mention their creativity.
Q3: Some of my friends are eager to produce more than four pages. Can we do that?
We appreciate your eagerness, but four is enough. What you can do with your excess enthusiasm is to help your friends from other groups or classes.
Q4: Our school has five classes for the LS category but only four classes in the US category. Clearly these four classes will not qualify for a class party. What can they do?
Try to get another class involved to make up five to qualify in the US category. Failing which, you can still send the best entry from this category for the national level judging and vie for the trophy and RM1,000 prize money for the school.
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