Leadership, a little sacrifice and a good news sense wins school's paper the top prize
Leadership, a little sacrifice and a good news sense helped the STFA Tam Pak Yu College editorial team scoop the Student Newspaper of the Year award.
Editors of Western Express Elaine Kot I-ling and Iris Wong Hiu-man said they had planned their pages well from the very start of the exercise. However, when it came to the task of reporting, it was difficult to get students from different forms to cover an assignment together because of timetable clashes. That severely delayed their progress.
'So at the end, the editors had to be slightly dictatorial and crack the whip. Everyone had to sacrifice their free time a little and work on their holiday, sometimes from 9am to 5pm,' said Elaine, a Form Six science student. 'Once we stayed so late the principal had to let us out of the school building.'
In terms of editorial content, Iris said their mentor Lai Kam-choi helped them to brainstorm - though it was the students who had to develop and bring to fruition the ideas.
'Our school is in Tuen Mun so we looked around for story ideas that people living in the area may find relevant,' said Iris, a sixth form arts student. 'Also, Ms Lai thought it would be good to speak to former students who are now leading successful lives. Our team then had a meeting and came up with a list of names before we asked Ms Lai to put us in touch with them because she has really good contacts.'
PLK Lee Shing Pik College students Jessica Lau Wai-kwan and Cherry Li Sze-mei are editors of IDEA, which was the first runner-up in the category. They, too, had to work throughout their Lunar New Year holiday because they had to prepare for their exams before that.
'But it was a good experience though,' said sixth former Jessica. The 18-year-old science student added that the piece she enjoyed working most on was the vox pop on 'Who do you think will die in Harry Potter 6'.
'The process of interviewing people on the street was really more fun than I expected,' she said.
For Ng Adrian Alwin, the best part of editing his school newspaper Scope, second runner-up, was getting to eat the 'props' for the CD review photo shoot - a plateful of chocolates.
'We snacked on them while we worked, I certainly enjoyed that,' said the Form Four student at St Paul's College. 'Seriously though, the most fun was designing the paper and editing it on time. The satisfaction at the end was great.'
With help from Eugene Lo Yee-juen and Lawrence Wong Man-kit, the other two editors, and Dennis Yuen as their advisor, Adrian managed an editorial team of 12. The 16-year-old said he was lucky the team got along very well because most members were friends.
'The biggest challenge was really to get people working to deadlines. Having friends as teammates has its advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, because we already knew one another, we understood and communicated very well. We knew each other's expectations.
'But that also meant I couldn't push them too hard.'