Plan and stay focused

  • Education
  • Sunday, 05 Apr 2009

MAKE an appointment and prepare your questions before an interview, otherwise, you will face one irate interviewee.

This was one of the tips given to participants of The Star and Pizza Hut Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) Mag Inc (Magazine Incorporated) contest during a workshop at the Kuantan Community College in Pahang recently.

About 80 pupils, students and teachers from 20 primary and secondary schools attended the session, helmed by The Star’s NiE freelance facilitator, Adeline Cruz.

Cruz said it was important for participants to prepare the necessary questions so as to save time and obtain the right details during an interview. It should also be done at the interviewee’s convenience, she added.

Citing her own experience, the former teacher said she was once stopped by a group of students who wanted to interview her at a car park, under the hot sun.

Another point she emphasised was the need to understand the theme of the Mag Inc contest, which is teenage angst.

“It is about what upsets you most, things that frustrate you as a teenager. It can be something related to the social structure or restrictions that affect you.”

Cruz said it was crucial for participants to highlight an issue and its human elements and churn out a beautiful piece that would impress the judges.

She warned them not to plagiarise as they would not be able to fool the judges, who would comprise experts and professionals in multimedia and journalism.

“You can get ideas from an article you’ve read, but use your own words to write your feature for the magazine. And be specific,” she added.

Participants should allow their imagination to run free and take their own pictures, if possible, because in most contests, judges are bowled over by the way young minds interprete a topic.

At the end of the briefing, the participants were asked to come up with a title that would reflect their feature story. A few groups came up with interesting titles, one of which was ‘Mouse Potatoes’ - a term referring to those addicted to the Internet.

The term was coined by fourth formers Nurul Syaqirah Mohd Sufi, Amirul Asyraff Samuri and Muhamad Faiz Ahmad Nordin of SM Teknik Kuantan, who received tokens for their effort.

Over in Kuala Terengganu, a similar workshop was held at the Dewan Konvensyen Yayasan Pembangunan Usahawan for students from 24 primary and secondary schools. The participants were advised to focus on the theme but explore the issue of teenage angst from different perspectives.

During the workshop, a team from SBP Intergrasi Batu Rakit discussed ideas on their topic, titled Secret Admirer, while SMK Tengku Intan Zaharah Dungun looked at relationships, like that of Romeo and Juliet’s.

The Mag Inc contest is open to primary students (Years Four to Six) and lower and upper secondary students. Each team can comprise four or five members.

Participation is through schools only and competing teams have to produce a three-page mini magazine.

Primary pupils stand a chance to win the grand prize of a trip to Sibu Island Resort, Johor.

The grand prize winners of the upper secondary category will also win a trip to the resort, as well as pre-university scholarships from Taylor’s University College worth RM100,000.

Grand prize winners of the lower secondary category will each get a trip to East Malaysia, while runner-up teams from each category will spend three days and two nights at Genting Resort.

Templates for the contest were published on April 1 in The Star’s NiE pullout. They will be published again on April 22. Online registration for schools will end on April 30 and the deadline for entry submissions is June 20.

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