A few of my friends and I launched the first-ever, student-led school newspaper at Fountainhead, The corridors in an attempt to provide an exceptional platform for all aspiring journalists, web-designers, writers, photographers, and graphic designers to set forth and build upon their skills. This newspaper has several different segments and verticals, including: Schools news, Student views on policies, Interviews of students, staff and teachers, Book and movie reviews ,Study tips and advice ,Educational and academic articles: sciences, math, Global affairs and much more.
Being the editor and co-founder of ‘the corridors’, it was our (the editorial board’s) role to build a team of best-fitting graphic designers, photographers, writers and web developers to bring this idea to life. In order to curate the team the editorial board took up interviews of the interested participants and invited them to the team. Apart from this we also made certain that it was essential that the team was thoroughly motivated to work and submitted the best quality work on time. For this we kept soft deadlines and hard deadlines for everyone on the team. Additionally it was also my responsibility to ensure that all the articles were submitted on time, proof-read and edited by the editing team and then further reviewed by the supervisors of the team. Not only this the team also had monthly meetings where we discussed ideas for the next issue, changes we could inculcate to make the newspaper better and bigger. Further my co-editors and I also took it upon ourselves to market the newspaper and so we started creating captivating graphics and designs that we presented on various social media platforms to reach a larger demographic. We also drafted emails and notices that we forwarded through our email broadcast list.
Apart from being the co-founder and the editor to the newspaper, I was also one of the writers and so I also wrote articles that were proof-read by others on the editing team and then published on our portal.
- LO 1: Identify their own strengths and develop areas for personal growth.
As I started on this journey I came to terms with my strengths and weaknesses in terms of handling such a large scale project, the school newspaper. As for my strengths I believe I have a good command over language and so this allowed me to thoroughly edit all the articles that came my way and write articles that would add value to the newspaper. Along with this having developed team-building and collaboration skills aided me to conduct effective monthly meetings with the board and team in an attempt to finalise the changes for the next issue and discuss lucrative ideas for the coming issue. In addition to this I also believe that being a creative minded individual helped me to communicate unique design ideas for the outlook of the website and the overall theme for the social media page. My flair of artistic abilities assisted me to create attractive graphics to market the newspaper well. Additionally having a good deal of eloquence I was able to create messages that we forwarded to our broadcast email list as a marketing tool. Although on the flip side, being a procrastinator I found it rather challenging to manage time and complete self-made goals and deadlines on time. After understanding my weakness I started using google calendar and started planning ahead of time so as to avoid any disruptions. Analysing my weakness and working on it helped me shape myself into a better version of myself and develop one of the most essential skills; time management which will definitely be of a great help to me in the future.
- LO 2: Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process
To begin with, planning, organizing, and launching such a large scale project was a first for me. From thinking of the project ideas, to finalizing the details, pondering the name of the newspaper, building a team, constantly communicating with everyone on board, this was a long journey. And might I add a journey with many challenges. First off, since we came up with this idea in the lockdown it was very difficult to virtually plan everything, interview the potential candidates for the team and conduct team meetings. It was often very difficult to find a time that suited most of us and arrange meetings where we could plan our next steps. To overcome this struggle we tried to fit 30 mins meetings twice in a month just to track our progress and ensure that we were at par with the original timeline we had created. We also used hangout messages to our advantage and used that as a platform to communicate minor details.
Apart from this, another hurdle I faced was balancing school work and the newspaper parallelly. The newspaper was a big responsibility and so it was often difficult to juggle school deadlines and newspaper deadlines. This is where my co-editors helped a lot and dividing tasks made it easier to deal with the task at hand. Additionally time management also really helped me overcome this challenge.
Not only this, ensuring that everyone submitted their work on time was a challenge, and we were able to overcome this by personally mailing each team member reminding them of their tasks and deadline and then setting a final deadline that worked best for both them and us. This definitely helped me develop patience.
Last but not least this event really assisted me to develop my work ethic, marketing skills, communication with peers and participants and most importantly social skills.
- LO 3: Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience
Well, amongst all the other learning objectives, from the beginning steps of coming up with names for the newspaper, curating a team of like-minded individuals, designing the website, writing and editing articles, contacting supervisors, rolling out the first of many issues, till marketing the newspaper I demonstrated how to initiate a CAS project.
Firstly we started with brainstorming the different teams we will require in order to bring this project to life. After finalising that we rolled out forms for all the potential web designers, photographers, writers and graphic designers in school who wanted to join hands with us and with this we created a strong team of 20 talented individuals. After this we started discussing the layout of the website, name for the newspaper, various strategies to publicize the newspaper, ideas for the first edition, our unique selling point etc. Soon after this everyone began working on their tasks and we then released our first ever edition of the newspaper. From there we repeated these steps and launched a few more editions of the newspaper.
As a whole I portrayed various acts of being social, communicating with everyone and successfully planning this project. Throughout this journey I learned marketing skills, patience, communicating skills, being socially friendly and finding solutions to whatever challenge came our way.
- LO 4: Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences
Being in charge of such a large scale project requires commitment and perseverance. I believe that I showed commitment and perseverance to make this newspaper the best school newspaper out there. As a team, all of us made sure to motivate each other and keep the spirits high, being persistent, dedicating a lot of time and effort for this project and working as hard as we could to make this happen. We ensured we released a few editions, kept the audience engaged via social media, released new content, published latest news and affairs, curated a diverse recommendations list and overall gave it our all.
- LO 5: Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively.
Launching a newspaper is not a one man’s job and hence it is obvious this wouldn’t be possible without the constant help of the others working collaboratively. This experience involved some level of cooperation between the team since we had to finalise the theme for the different editions, the layout for the website, the topics for the issues and so much more. It required constant communication with the web developing team in order to fix technical problems, communication with the writers while editing their work, collaborating with the graphic designer and the photographers to add aesthetic appeal to the social media page and the website and most of all cooperation between the editorial board while making major decisions related to the newspaper. Being a team also gave us a sense of accountability which motivated all of us to work better and more efficiently and timely. Together we uplifted each other, worked together, communicated and this not only made tasks easier, and an opportunity to showcase one’s abilities it also made this successful.
- LO6: Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance.
In the articles I edited and in a few I wrote, I dealt with issues of global significance, such as world after the global pandemic, Amazon forest fires, taxes, presidency race in America etc. While researching these topics I engaged with many global issues and learnt a variety of things.
- LO 7: Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions
Being a platform for so many writers and photographers there ought to be ethical measures. One of them being ensuring that none of the work we put out was plagiarized . Alos since we touched several sensitive and triggerign topics like rape and assulaut we also ensured to be completely respectful and warning the readers beforehand. We also made it a point to properly acknowledge everyone who helped with the production of the work. Throughout we made being ethical our utmost priority.
To conclude, I believe this project provided a platform to creatively present one’s work and it also acted as a service by providing the readers with information and arguments to spread awareness about the up-to-date news, global issues and a students view of major world issues and crises. I believe that from the start of planning this newspaper to the final execution I learnt several new skills, demonstrated plenty I already had and polished a few. I exhibited various learner profiles, like being a thinker and thinking critically and creatively. I also proved to be a communicator by having conversations with supervisors, team members and engaging with the audience. Apart from that I also portrayed being a risk taker and took a leap of faith and launched “The corridors.” I also found myself showing attributes of being principled and treating everyone fairly and respecting everyone throughout. Overall with the constant support from all this newspaper was a hit and can be carried forward as a Fountainhead school legacy.
Website link: https://thecorridors.herokuapp.com/home