Make your own newspaper

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 February, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 February, 2005, 12:00am

Like most things in life, newspapers have a cycle: an issue gets published, people read it and then the newspaper team starts to work on the next issue. If you are publishing a weekly paper, you need to be organised so that the cycle runs smoothly. Here's an overview of a typical weekly news cycle.

Plan the coverage

It's impossible to put down everything on paper, so it's important to have an editorial meeting before every issue. All newspaper staff should attend this meeting to brainstorm ideas for each section of the paper. Once the team has decided on the content of the upcoming issue, the editor-in-chief assigns the stories and artwork to the reporters, photographers and illustrators, and sets deadlines.

Get the story and artwork

As soon as a reporter has been assigned a story, he needs to decide on a story angle, or focal point, and discuss suitable artwork with the photographer or illustrator. The photographer might need to take several pictures to get the right shot. And the reporter will use a variety of research sources, including books, magazines, newspaper cuttings, the internet and interviews. Once the reporter has written the story, he proofreads it and then gives it to the section editor, along with the artwork.

Edit the story

When the section editor gets the story, he needs to check the facts and correct the grammar and spelling. He will also need to make sure that it conforms to the newspaper's style sheet - a set of rules on the use of typefaces. Helvetica and Times Roman are the most popular typefaces and some newspapers use nine point for stories and 48 point for headlines (story titles). The editor will also need to check anything else in his section, such as comic strips, advertisements and notices. On some papers, the editors lay out the pages of their section before passing everything to the editor-in-chief for review.

Lay out the pages

After approving each section, the editor-in-chief gives everything to the designer. The designer uses a computer program to make up the pages of the paper. Then the adviser, the editor-in-chief and the section editors proofread the paper one last time.

Print and distribute the paper

Once the paper is finalised, it's sent to the printer for photocopying. This can be done at school or at a local copy shop, depending on the cost. Then the paper is distributed to readers and advertisers. Copies can be e-mailed, hand-delivered and/or left in the library, computer room or school office.

After all copies have been circulated, the news cycle starts all over again. In general, a four-to-eight page weekly paper requires a seven-day lead-in. For example, if you print the paper on Thursday evening for Friday distribution, planning sessions should take place on the Thursday of the preceding week. Advertising space should also be reserved at this time. Publishing a weekly paper means that everyone will be working towards tight deadlines, so be sure to plan ahead and make the most of your editorial meetings.



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