Friday, August 21, 2009

The Campus Paper

Most schools and colleges all over the country, have their own campus paper. The size and frequency of the paper vary, depending on the population of the school and the activities in their campuses. The school may come up with the special edition of its publication of organ during foundation days or other special occasions.
In any respects, school newspaper are considered as newsletters simply because their scope and audience are limited. They are not also published regularly but only during the school year, and their circulation is limited to the school population.
The editorial board of a campus paper must make many decisions about the format, layout, paper stock and the typeface that will best serve the objectives of the paper.
The campus paper or newsletter is critically important in the following instances:
  1. When there is lack of outlet for the activities of the students in the campus.
  2. If certain goals or programs must be promoted, particularly those that will benefit the students.
  3. If there is a need for training ground for future journalists.
  4. If the school administration wishes to have a conduit for continued dialogue with the students populace.
What should go into the campus paper
The campus publication is supposed to promote the best interest not only of the students but also of the administration and the faculty members. It is a vehicle for the wholesome relationship between the students and their instructors. It is where the students can express their opinions, including their grievances, with the end in view of working toward a campus environment that is conducive to learning and the advancement of quality education.
Generally, however, a typical campus paper should include the following:
  1. news, features, and photos about campus activities.
  2. editorial, editorial cartoon, columns, letters to the editor.
  3. profiles or personality sketches of campus celebrities.
  4. interviews with the school officials.
  5. book, movie and drama reviews
  6. comics, puzzles, horoscope.
  7. features on the culture and the arts
  8. lifestyle and entertainment news
  9. sports and other news about physical fitness.
  10. science and technology

Choosing the Staff
No one plan for the organizing the staff can be recommended for all high schools. Each must work out a system best suited to its particulars set-up. The staff may be selected by competitive examination, or appointed by the staff adviser upon recommendation of the faculty members.
If the school has a class in news writing, reporters may be groomed for key positions. Some schools offer special classes or workshops in journalism for those who are already in the staff. Most depend on actual work on the paper to provide necessary training. A combination of any of these methods may be worked out.
It is advisable that the next year’s staff be selected before the end of the school-year. This procedure not only provides training to the incoming staff, but also minimizes delay in the circulation of the first issue for the next school year.
About the middle of the second semester, candidate may fill up application form citing their experiences, qualifications, recommendation and position or positions desired
The candidate may be given an examination covering news writing and editorial writing plus additional subject related to the position he is aspiring for: i.e., writing sports news and a sport column for sports editor. If aspirants for key positions are subjected to a test, this should also include copyreading and lay-out. Usually, how-ever , the top men would have been in the staff for at least a year, and would have worked their way up.
Those who qualify may then undergo a training period. During their apprenticeship, the incoming staff may undertake the bulk of the work for one of the last issues. Before the end of schoolyear the adviser should be ready to announce the next year’s staff. However, the organization should be sufficiently flexibility to permit transferees, freshmen and other desirable members to join the staff the net school year.
One practice is too choose the editor who is then given a free hand in choosing his staff. This practice gives him a chance to pick those with whom he can work in harmony. However, care should be taken that the paper remain truly the representative and not the mouthpiece of the editor and his clique.
Although the whole school should be involved in t he school paper, having every school class organization represented by a member in the staff is not desirable. With good organization, a staff of about 15-25 member should be able to cope with a monthly publication of a 6-8 page tabloid.
The staff should not be top-heavy. A small paper, for instance, should have no need for an an assistant sports editor or an assistant society editor. There should be enough reporters to get news, to interview and to proofread.
Qualification of Staff Members
At least as important as their ability to write are certain personal qualities of staff members. Realizing the importance of these personal traits, hardly any adviser selects staff members solely on the basis of examination results.
Newsreporter. The reporter being the key-man of any newspaper, every new-comer to the staff, except the photographers, the circulation manager and the features editor, should atart as a reporter. Earl English and Clearance Hach (Scholastic Journalism) list the following characteristic necessary for the best news gathering:
  1. An intense interest in people and what happens to them.
  2. An ability to meet all kinds of people and to converse with them.
  3. An ability to inspire confidence and to make people feel easy in their presence.
  4. An ability to speak and write well
  5. The quality to being resourceful and persevering when a story is difficult to obtain.
  6. A sense of responsibility and punctuality.
  7. The willingness to respect confidences, consider request, and keep promises.
  8. A willingness and a desire to do more than what is assigned.
  9. The ability to work quickly and accurately.
  10. A realization that there are usually two sides to every story, and a willingness to withhold judgment until all facts are known.
  11. Broad interests.
  12. A wide educational background.
  13. A nose for news,
(a) The ability to recognize that the information will be of interest to readers.
(b) The ability to recognize clues which may be very casual but which may lead to the discovery of important news.
(c) The ability to recognize the relative importance of a number of a facts concerning the same general subject.
(d) The ability to recognize the possibility of other news related to the particular information at hand.
  1. Kenness of observation.
  2. Extensive reading and enjoyment of good literature.
  3. An extensive vocabulary.
Editor. The editor must be:
  1. An organizer – He must plan each job so that no one process in publishing the paper need wait for some other processes.
  2. A leader –He must be so highly respected in his job that in rush time he can demand much extra effort from the staff members without their feeling imposed upon. He must of course be ready and willing to do more than his share of the dirty work.
  3. Willing to sacrifice much of his time. The duties of editor often keep him busy long after the others staffers have finished their assignment.
  4. Familiar with the printing end of the job. He must see each page of each issue all the way through.
  5. A super-reporter”
Managing editor. He should have the same qualifications as the editor.
Associate editor. He should know the work of the editor well enough so that he may carry on in the absence the editor. He should always be ready to help through the rush hours.
Feature writer or editor. He is usually a person who has a talent for writing clever, original stories. Because few persons have this ability, it may be necessary to look for such a person outside the staff and invite him to join as a feature writer. It is usually better to find someone who has the talent than to try to develop one who does not have the talent.
Sports editor. The sports editor must not only like and understand sports. He should enjoy writing, have imagination and the ability to think of new types of interesting material. He must be able to express ordinary facts in a interesting way.

Organizing the Staff

To get off to a good start, the best kind of working spirit has to be developed. First, as nearly as possible, each student should get into the job he wants and for which who is best qualified. Second, each staff member should absolutely responsible and reliable in getting his own material in on time. The editor, his associates, or the news editor posts a chart showing each pesons exact assignment and deadline. Third, when ever ones deadline is met, the staffer should find something useful to do. This may mean helping someone else in his assignment, going to the news editor for a new assignment ‘ or merely keeping busy reading, especially material relevant to journalism.
If the editor finds some staff members lazy and unreliable, he should drop their names from the masthead and substitute others. It should be an honor to be listed on the staff. Severe penalties should be levied reporters upon reporters persistently inaccurate. Printed corrections of mistakes should be a fixed policy of the paper.
Statements of Duties
A clear up statement of duties of each member of the staff contributes to greater efficiency, by preventing over-lapping of work, neglect of some aspects or overburdening of any single staffer.
The following was formulated and adopted by the staff of a school paper. It has served as the guide for succeeding staffs.
I. Editor-in-Chief
1. Supervises the editorial staff of the paper.
2. Writes the editorials of the organ.
3. Edits all articles preparatory to the submission of the same to the adviser for final editing and approval for publication.
4. Supervises the preparation of the layout of the paper and the paging of the same in cooperation with the Managing Editor.
5. Causes the accomplishment of all assignments properly and on time.
6. Acts as liaison officer between the editorial staff and the adviser.
7. Calls meetings of the staff in consultation with the adviser.
II. Associate Editor
1. Edits the articles in cooperation with the Editor-in-Chief.
2. Writes editorials of the organ when requested.
3. Prepares assignments of section editors in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief.
4. Cooperates in the preparation of the layout of the paper and paging of the same with the Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor.
III. Managing Editor
1. Check articles for typographical errors.
2. Prepares the layout of the paper and paging of the same in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief.
3. Proofreads galley proofs before the adviser for printing finally approves these.
IV. Section Editors
1. News Editor
a. Assigns reporters to cover events relevant to the school activities.
b. Writes straight news articles on assignment from the Editor-in-Chief or through his own initiative in consultation with the latter.
c. Edits all straight news articles received preparatory to submission of the same to the Editor-in-Chief.
2. Features Editor
a. Gives out assignments to feature writers.
b. Receives and edits feature articles preparatory to submission of the same to the Editor-in-Chief.
c. Writes a regular feature article or column.
3. Circulation Editor
a. Makes up a list of school papers sent by other schools.
b. Mails copies of his own to these schools.
c. Files their papers on a bulletin board or displays them on a newspaper rack.
d. Keeps files of his school information, such as class lists, faculty, administrative officials, etc.
4. Cartoonist
a. Helps in the preparation of the layout and the pictorial stories.
b. Prepares editorial cartoons.
c. Makes illustrations for feature articles.
5. Layout Artist
a. Assigns or causes the assignment of the school’s official photographer to take pictures on school’s activities for the month.
b. Prepares pictorial articles of the organ in consultation with the managing editor and editor in chief.
c. Writes the caption of the pictures utilized by the paper in cooperation with the editor in chief.
d. Takes charge of the design of the school paper.
e. Labels or properly identifies all pictures made available for publication. It is suggested that he writes (in pencil) at the back of every picture to which a particular picture refers.
The objective of the campus paper editor is to build a team of reporters, writers, photographers and deskmen out of a diverse group of students, most of them, if not all, have no experience in this kind of undertaking.
In most school, there is a competitive examination for students who are interested in joining the editorial staff of the campus publication. Only students who have previous writing experience or those who want to become professional journalists would most likely take the examination.
Hoe to motivate the staff
Following are some steps to bolster the motivation of your staff.
  1. Get everyone excited about the goals of your paper.
  2. Sell the idea that the paper or the articles would make a difference in the campus.
  3. Get them involved in their projects of the school.
  4. Ask them to interview prominent personalities in the campus.
  5. Be liberal in giving them bylines.
  6. Show appreciation for their work even if you had a hard time editing their copies.
Even in a campus publication, when the frequency is usually not fixed, there should be discipline and sense of purpose on the part of all the members of the editorial staff. Each issue should have deadlines for submissions of raw stories, photos, illustrations, graphics, and other materials. There should be a deadline for copyreading, encoding, lay-outing and the submission of camera-ready materials.

How to write a news article

Here’s something very few people realize: Writing news stories isn’t particularly difficult. It does take practice and not everyone will be an expert but if you follow the guidelines below you should be able to create effective news items without too much stress.

The five “W”s and the “H”

This is the crux of all news – you need to know these things:

Who? What? Where? When? How?

Any good news story provides answers to each of these questions. You must drill these into your brain and they must become second nature.

For example, if you wish to cover a story about a local sports team entering a competition you will need to answer these questions:

Who is the team? Who is the coach? Who are the prominent players? Who are the supporters?

What sport do they play? What is the competition?

Where is the competition? Where the team is normally based?

When is the competition? How long they have been preparing?

Why are they entering this particular competition? It it’s relevant, why does the team exist at all?

How are they going to enter the competition? Do they need to fundraise? How much training and preparation is required? What will they need to do to win?

The Inverted Pyramid

This refers to the style of journalism, which places the most important facts at eh beginning, and works “down” from there. Ideally, the first paragraph should contain enough information to give the reader a good overview of the entire story. The rest of the article explains and expands on the beginning.

A good approach is to assume that the story might be cut off at any point due to space limitations. Does the story work if the editor only decides to include the first two paragraphs? If not, re-arrange it so that it does.

The same principle can apply to any type of medium.

More tips

It’s about people

News stories are all about how people are affected. In your sports story, you might spend some time focusing on one or more individuals, or on how the team morale is doing, or how the reporters are feeling.

Have an angle

Most stories can be presented using a particular angle. This is a standard technique and isn’t necessarily bad – it can help make the purpose of the story clear and give it focus.

Keep it Objective

You are completely impartial. If there is more than one side to the story, cover them all. Don’t use “I” and “me” unless you are quoting someone.

Don’t get flowery

Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. Don’t use lots of heavily descriptive language. When you have finished, go through the entire story and try to remove any words which are not completely necessary.

Reporting boils down to three things:


As a reporter you have a lot of power. What you write can influence decisions, help from public opinions of people and contribute to the general attitude of your readers toward their life in general.

With that power comes responsibility that can’t be taken lightly. Get a fact wrong, misspell a name or omit a vital piece of information and you not only can distort the truth and misinform the public, but you also damage the credibility of the school paper. Without credibility, a newspaper is finished. Guard it carefully.


Newspaper writing is not academic writing. We don’t use big words and long sentences to show our readers how smart we are. Newspaper readers are pressed for time. You have to give them the news quickly, concisely and without a lot of extra words or information they don’t need. Every story competes for a reader’s attention… against other stories, against the TV in the background, against every distraction you can think of.

  1. STYLE

Good writers are artists. Good news writers are, too. They can entertain, inspire, anger and educate. News stories don’t have to follow the old, worn-out, inverted pyramid format. Sure, you’;; still use it sometimes, particularly for important, breaking news on deadline. But look for opportunities to veer from the format into something more interesting. Never forget, though, that your number 1 objective is to tell people what they need to know – not to show them how much of a literary artist you are.

10 guidelines for clearer writing

1. One idea per sentence

No. Columbine University in Manhattan experienced the largest of recent school murder rampages last week and Dekalb University along with police are reacting to a rumor of violence at Dekalb University.

Yes. School officials and police are reacting quickly to a rumored threat of violence at Dekalb University.

The response follows last week’s school massacre in Manhattan.

2. Limit sentence length to 23-25 words. If you can’t read a sentence aloud without a breath, it’s too long.

No. After the announcement was made by President John Vladimir that he will be retiring early next year. Boey under his boarh authority created and ad that will find representatives.

Yes. President John Vladimir announced last month he will retire early next year. Boey has since created a temporary committee to choose a search committii.

3. S-V-O: Subject-Verb-Object. Right branching sentences (think of a track engine). Don’t delay meaning. Don’t use a lot of commas.

No. Mauger who worked as a bursar at De Paul University in Chicago prior to work at Beliot sain she missed the university environment.

Yes. Mauger was a bursar at Chicago’s De Paul University before Beliot job. She missed the university environment.

4. Use strong verbs and active voice

No. The poem will be read by me.

Yes. Rina will read the poem.

5. Reduce difficult words to their simplest terms. Don’t let bureaucrats dictate your word choices.

No. The search committee will be constructed with article of NIU.

Yes. NIU’s constitution dictates the search committee’s makeup.

6. Don’t back into sentence.

7. Don’t use more than three numbers in any one sentence.

8. Use no more than three prepositional phrases per sentence.

9. Choose the precise word

10. KISS (keep it simple, stupid)