A cut above the rest

  • Education
  • Sunday, 18 Sep 2011

Compelling content and design see 75 entries take home the coveted Merit Awards.

AN eye-catching cover, creative content, a pleasing layout and an exceptional display of writing skills. These are some of the requirements for a magazine to win a reader’s attention, and likewise, for entries of the Mag Inc 2011 contest, to make the cut.

Apart from the six teams that will contend for the grand prize at the Pizza Hut outlet in Kota Damansara on Sept 21, five lucky teams from each state (with the exception of Selangor which has been allotted 10) will receive merit awards for their outstanding entries. The merit award winners will be given a certificate each and RM200 worth of Pizza Hut vouchers per team.

Close to 55,000 entries were submitted for the annual Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) contest organised by The Star and Pizza Hut.

The contest, launched in March this year, was opened to primary and secondary schools nationwide. Entries highlighted topics such as health, environment, safety, social values and relationships, in line with the theme “Speak Out!”

The Star deputy group chief editor (II) Leanne Goh said that students this year were able to effectively vocalise the issues they face in print. However, she said that it was important for students to remember the serious consequences of plagiarism.

“We really discourage plagiarism. But many have learnt to cite their sources this year, which shows that they have been attentive at the nationwide workshops conducted in March and have made use of the tips uploaded onto the contest website,” she said.

The Star NiE editorial manager Sharon Ovinis noted that many entries delved into “grey” subject matters such as homosexuality and homeschooling.

“Not only were the students’ perspectives on these issues unique, they also produced many exciting covers to complement their topics,” she said.

While covers were eye-catching, she felt that students tended to go over the top with the centrespread.

“A poor choice of text font and size, as well as background colours chosen for the feature article were a hindrance to reading.”

She advises students to consider the hundreds of entries that the panel of judges had to read in a limited time.

“It’s important to make the feature article easy on the eyes. If your reader has to squint and decipher text which are printed in red against a green background, you aren’t going to capture your reader’s interest for long,“ Ovinis said.

“A strong lead (introduction) for your story is also important. If you can’t keep your reader glued to your story then, chances are, your reader is not going to complete reading what you have to ‘say’.”

This year’s contest challenged students to not only discuss issues close to their hearts but to provide solutions from their perspectives.

“This is where we saw the creative, analytical entries stand apart from the rest. It’s encouraging to see that we do have many young people who feel passionately about issues deemed important to their well-being,” she said.

So, has your entry made the cut? Read the list of merit award winners below to find out!



1.       SM TEKNIK JOHOR BAHRUTeam Beauty and the Beast (Fabulousity)

2.       SM TEKNIK PERDAGANGANTeam Aki (Smile)

3.       SMK DATO’ PENGGAWA TIMURTeam Success Creators (Mr.)

4.       SMK (P) TEMENGGONG IBRAHIM, BATU PAHATTeam PaperAeroplane (The 2nd Chance)

5.       SMK TINGGI BATU PAHATTeam The Glee (Teen Time)


1.       MRSM KUBANG PASUTeam Osama (Freedom?)

2.       MRSM MERBOKTeam Hey! Teen Editor (Hey! Teen)

3.       SMK AGAMA KEDAHTeam D-Tran1, SMKAK 09 (N-Dear)

4.       SMK KULIMTeam Iris (Iris)

5.       SMK TUNKU PUTERATeam Blaze (Blaze)


1.       SMK AGAMA LATITeam The Alert Teens (F.E.A.R)

2.        SMK DATO’ AHMAD MAHERTeam Excalibur (Starguides)

3.        SMK SULTAN IBRAHIM (1)Team Cromix Studio (l’amour)

4.       SMK SULTAN IBRAHIM (1)Team Myth Studio (Today’s Health)

5.       SMK SULTAN ISMAILTeam The Angels, Maff’s (Stress)

Kuala Lumpur


2.       SMK CONVENT SENTULTeam Suju ELF (MIE make it easy)

3.       SMK (P) PUDUTeam Girl Power (The Voice of Youth)

4.       SMK SEKSYEN 5 WANGSA MAJUTeam The Inquirer (The Inquirer)

5.       SMK VIVEKANANDATeam Famous 5 (Liberty)


1.       SM SAINS MUZAFFAR SHAHTeam Awake (Awake!)

2.       SMK GAJAH BERANGTeam Mars (ITeen)

3.       SM ST. FRANCISTeam Shout (Shout)

4.       SMK TINGGI ST. DAVIDTeam Elmo (L.O.S.T)

5.       SMK TUN TUAHTeam Complicated Group (Stayfit)

Negri Sembilan

1.       SJK (C) CHUNG HUA, SEREMBANTeam Safety Heroes (Safety Comes 1st)

2.       SM ST PAULTeam Seekers (The Crux Point)

3. SMJK CHAN WATeam Giant Ants (48 Hours)

4.       SMK BUKIT MEWAHTeam Optimists (L.I.F.E.)

5.       SMK KING GEORGE VTeam Fame (Magnitude)


1.       SJK (C) CHUNG CHING, KUANTANTeam Super Girls (Stop Global Warming)

2.        SMK ABDUL RAHMAN TALIBTeam Sting Scorpion (WTH?)

3.       SMK AIR PUTIHTeam A-Live (A-Live)

4.       SMK ALOR AKARTeam Chaos (Chaos)

5.       SMK HWA LIANTeam Love.Life (Lif 3)


1.       SJK (C) KONG MIN CAWANGAN 2Team Smart School Savers (Health Corner)


3.       SMK CONVENT GREEN LANETeam TEENducate (TEENducate)

4.       SMK ST. XAVIERTeam Bliss (LOUD – The Silent Killer)

5.       SMK TINGGI BUKIT MERTAJAMTeam Eh!Motions (EH!motions)


1.       SMJK AVE MARIA CONVENTTeam Latitude (Speak!)

2.       SMJK NAN HWATeam The Extraordinairs (Heartline)

3.       SMJK NAN HWATeam The Nan Hwa Chronicle (The Nan Hwa Chronicle)

4.       SMK CONVENT, JALAN SULTAN IDRIS SHAH, IPOHTeam The Spectaculars (Heartbeat)

5.       SMK CONVENT TELUK INTANTeam Kamikaze Sisters (Manglish: Mangled or Magnificent)


1.       SM SAINS TUANKU SYED PUTRATeam 94-Line (Log In)

2.       SM SAINS TUANKU SYED PUTRATeam Cadbury (Precious)

3.       SMK KUALA PERLISTeam B.F.F (Teen-On)

4.       SMK KUALA PERLISTeam Drug Abuse (Life Issue)

5.       SMK KUALA PERLISTeam Try It! (Try It!)


1.       SMK MUHIBBAHTeam 7_Teen (The Special Children)

2. SM ST. FRANCIS CONVENT (M)Team Eleventh Hour (Voyage)

3.       SMK SUNG SIEWTeam Eleven (Eleven)

4.       SMK TINGGI KOTA KINABALUTeam The Chilli Padi (Our Toilet Our Home?)

5.       SMJK TIONG HUATeam One Peace (1Peace)


1.       SM CHUNG HUA MIDDLE SCHOOL NO 1Team SS2A (Adolescent)

2.       SMK GREEN ROADTeam Zodiacal (Discover)

3.       SMK KUCHING HIGHTeam Highian Extreme (The Truth Reveal)

4.       SMK METHODIST SIBUTeam Insight (Cyborg Blog)

5.       SMK ST. TERESATeam Make It Happen (Make It Happen)


1.       SK BANDAR UTAMA DAMANSARA (4)Team Formula 5 (Health and the Environment)

2.       SM SRI NOBELTeam Sevenfolds (Try-Angle)

3.       SMJK KWANG HUATeam The Awesamazing Four (Loud!)

4.       SMK BANDAR SUNWAYTeam Ultra Violet (Animalism)

5.       SMK BANDAR UTAMATeam Bubble Tea

6.       SMK BUKIT JELUTONGTeam Arsene (Survivors Weekly)

7.     SMK SEKSYEN 1 BANDAR KINRARATeam Reality – VIN 37 (Reality)

8.       SMK SRI PERMATATeam The Dream Team (Teen)

9.       SMK TAMAN SEATeam Orbit (Safe @ School)

10.       SRI KUALA LUMPUR INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLTeam The Messenger (The Messenger)


1.       SMK SULTAN SULAIMANTeam Infnite (Infinite)

2.       SMK SULTAN SULAIMANTeam Mythbusters (Mythbusters)

3.       SMK TENGKU MAHMUDTeam Star King (Teen & Health)

4.       SMK TENGKU MAHMUDTeam V-Remain (Vaimne)

5.       SMKA TOK JIRINGTeam Invincible Team (Light.Camera.Action)

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