Producing the front page of a newspaper is not easy, but participants who attended the first two Best School Newspaper Awards 2005 (BSNA 2005) student workshops this week managed to come up with one in just 45 minutes.
Coming up with an eye-catching front page was just one of the activities held to familiarise students and teachers with the contents and layout of a newspaper in preparation for them to take part in BSNA 2005.
Participants had to come up with a masthead, headline, choose and caption photographs, lay out the page and write a short article based on a video of a press conference with Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.
Of course, they received some guidance from experts beforehand. Present at both workshops were The Star's news editor Wong Sai Wan and senior editor, education Leanne Goh.
Wong gave a talk on What is news? Among the topics he covered were interview techniques and the importance of teamwork. He emphasised that “news can be anything”, including just a single picture.
The most important message he imparted to the students was: “Enjoy yourselves”.
“You must like what you do and be proud of it,” he told them.
Wong added, “Although it is just a school newspaper, you must treat it as if you will be selling it on the streets tomorrow.”
Goh taught the participants “the nitty-gritty of putting together a newspaper”.
Most of the students learnt for the first time what a masthead, blurb, caption, byline and jump line is. They also found out the importance of photographs and advertisements to a newspaper.
Goh gave examples from last year’s BSNA entries to highlight their strengths and weaknesses.
Many of the students were excited at the opportunity to learn how to put together a newspaper.
Some participants did not have a clue how to produce a newspaper. “We don’t know how to start (a newspaper) and what to do,” said Sekolah Sri Garden teacher Vera Fung when asked why she decided to attend the workshop with her students.
Others like previous participants SMK La Salle Klang wanted to learn how to improve their reporting techniques and presentation skills.
“Some schools are better than us, so we want to learn from them,” said Form Five student Jason Pillay.
The two workshops attracted students and teachers from 33 schools all over the Klang Valley.
The first workshop, which was held in University College of Technology and Management Malaysia (KUTPM), Shah Alam last Tuesday, catered to schools from Shah Alam and Klang.
The second workshop held in Menara Star, Petaling Jaya the following day, had participants from schools as far as Seremban.
SJK(C) Chung Hua, Seremban pupil Oo Jia Teng said, “We were suppose to take one hour to get here, but we took one-and-a-half-hours because we got lost.”
However, losing their way did not dampen their enthusiasm for the workshop, and they ended up getting a prize for the best front page layout that day.
Goh also announced the details of the contest during the workshops. Other than the major prizes, special awards will be given to schools with the most number of entries, best news story, best feature, best comic strip, best photograph and best Pizza Hut advertisement.
Pizza Hut, The Star's partner in Newspaper-in-Education (NiE), is providing RM2.5mil worth of vouchers for this year's competition. There is also a fantastic grand prize waiting to be won by the team that comes up with the best overall school newspaper.
The two workshops are the first of several organised by Star-NiE. Those interested in attending the workshops can check out the schedule for upcoming workshops listed below.
Places are limited and on a first-come-first-served basis. Each school will only be allowed to send four students and a teacher.
Those interested in participating can contact Robin James (09-513 1323) for Kuantan, Ms Oun (04-647 3883) for Penang, Kiran (03-7967 1298) for Petaling Jaya, Arumugam (07-331 5666) for Johor Baru and A. David (06-282 1909) for Malacca.