Over the school holidays in summer, I’d binged possibly every American show on Netflix. Since a lot of these shows were based in high school, I noticed something common in all of them; School Newspapers. Every American High school has a newspaper covering the school’s various events, news etc. This made me wonder why this culture isn’t so prominent in Indian Schools. Being an aspiring journalist at that point, I’d always wanted to run my own publication and so the idea of having our school’s newspaper was quite fascinating. Wasting no time, a few friends and I pitched the idea of our teachers who then jumped on board as well. After we put together an exceptional team of Graphic designers, writers, photographers and researchers we decided to name the newspaper, “The Corridors” as a metaphorical representation of all the memories, experiences and events that have taken place in the ‘corridors’ of our school.
Being the Founder and Chief editor, my role was to look over the entire project and everyone else’s role. Apart from that, I was also a writer and so every edition I was obliged to publish over 2 articles covering topics such as business, politics and pop culture. We made the Corridors a collaborative place for students with different interests and career aspects to come together and publish a newspaper for the entire school to read and cherish.
LO1 – Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth
Building The Corridors from scratch, putting together a team, taking permissions, handling each department and doing several other roles together gave me a clear sense of what my strengths and weaknesses are. I could identify that apart from being a good writer and an even better journalist, I was a good leader as well. Being the part of the editorial board, my teammates and I delegated tasks to the rest of the team, set firm deadlines and made sure we stick to them. In doing so, I realized how organized and disciplined I was when it came to leading everyone to a common goal.Another very prominent skill that I realized I had in me was designing. Since I worked very closely with the web and graphic designers, I realized I have a natural artistic sense of putting together colour schemes, fonts, layout designing etc moreover I enjoyed doing so. This made me quite impressed with myself and helped me understand that I too had a creative side to me which I would be unaware of had it not been for this project. However, I realized there were some things I struggled with a lot. Such as being a team player. Being someone who is very well organized, head-strong and with a work ethic rather different from others, it was difficult for me to collaborate with my team and accept ideas that do not come from me. It was challenging to come to a common ground keeping our differences aside since I always like to do things my way. The corridors helped me realize that when ideas are combined and put together, they tend to be much better and have a greater impact. This made me change my perspective and make me more tolerant towards others ideas, skills and perspectives.
LO3-Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience
Since the newspaper was initiated by my friends and I, we basically overlooked the entire process from putting together a detailed pitch for our teachers, providing the school with budgetary details, putting together a team, delegating tasks, keeping deadlines and meeting them etc. Firstly, we started off with creating a general profile of the newspaper. The logo, the name, the mission, the website and the team. In doing so, we met with a lot of challenges since we were 5 key members who had to decide everything and so 5 different perspectives came into play when deciding something. However, with time, we learned to work collectively. After this, we began our work of pitching ideas, meeting with writers, writing, making content and then also set up a social media page for marketing and reach purposes. In doing so, each one of us gained a lot of experience in not only Journalism but also in organizing, management, marketing and collaborative skills. Even though we did only a fraction of work that professionals do, I still did gain a deeper perspective and knowledge of my future career.
LO4 – Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences
Since the beginning of this project, the corridors tested my commitment throughout. There were a lot of times when I wanted to not do my work and pass it on to someone else but being the chief, it was onto me to set an example and be on top of my deadlines so that my team follows and does what is expected of them on time. This responsibility made me answerable to my teammates and so I had no choice but to show commitment not just for the sake of CAS but also towards my career and future.
LO5 -Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively
It is apparent that launching a newspaper is not easy, and so it highly depends on the collaboration of people working together. Since we had to finalise the themes for the multiple editions, the layout, the topics for the issues,the framework etc. this experience required teamwork even if we did not want it. It necessitated constant communication with the web development team in order to resolve technical issues, communication with the writers while editing their work, collaboration with the graphic designer and photographers to add aesthetic appeal to the social media page and the website, and, most importantly, cooperation within the editorial board since we were the ones who were supposed to delegate tasks to other writes, photographers and web designers.
LO7-Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions
Being a journalist in action, we were obliged to meet various ethical considerations such as having a zero plagiarism policy, not being extremely political since we as writers represent the entire school, not forcing anyone to write anything against their will etc. As writers it is our job to provide both sides of the story or at least not give a biased viewpoint so that our readers aren’t influenced wrongly. Moreover, our articles are largely made for the public awareness and so it is totally our responsibility to provide accurate information by cross checking our work and enlisting trustworthy sources. All of this was recognized and followed by The Corridors on a daily basis.
The learner profiles that I developed through The Corridors are:
I learned to communicate my ideas efficiently and effectively by engaging myself into the topic/issue completely. Moreover, I also coordinated with my team members on a daily basis and so I developed a habit of being concise and to the point so that I avoid being elliptical in my words.
Along with other ethical guidelines of a journalist, I made sure that whatever the paper publishes is accurate and original and if at all any piece of information was taken from another source, I also made sure that the source was cited properly and was given appropriate credit for the sake of academic honesty. I also made sure this culture was fostered throughout the team and everybody took citation seriously and so we also checked plagiarism before publishing any article.
To conclude, I’m glad I carried out this CAS project along with my peers because not only did I enjoy it but learned so much in terms of writing, publishing, editing, managing etc. which would otherwise have not been possible. The project was a great success and we’d love to continue it even after CAS.
Link to the newspaper: https://thecorridors.herokuapp.com/home