During Year 10, I was part of the school newsletter team which consisted of around 6 students writing articles for the termly school newsletter, ‘News In Brief’. Each student was assigned a specific area of school life to focus on and write articles about. Areas of school life included: school community, sports, entertainment, school council etc. I was assigned to research and write about the ‘school community’ around our school. The team was organised by one our teachers, Mrs Harrison, and was headed by two students in year 11, who edited the page of the newsletter.
Our team met roughly twice each term to discuss the type of articles we were going to write about, and once we had agreed that the articles were appropriate we went out to research the stories and collect images/photographs/quotes/comments. We were given a deadline as to when we had to submit the articles to the editors, and once our stories had been written, we then sent them to the editors via email who would comment, edit and then submit to be published in the newsletter. Throughout the year, I wrote three articles about recent events and issues affecting our school community.
An issue I researched was the school’s proposal to the council to move to another location in West Ealing. The reason for choosing this particular story was that I felt that hardly any of the students I talked to were aware of this failed attempt to relocate the school. I then asked a number of students if they felt that it was necessary to move the school to a single-site location because of the poor quality facilities we had. I took quotes, and included an image of the school building in my article.
I felt that students should have been made aware of this and certainly consulted about the proposal to the local council. I also hoped that by writing the article, students would be consulted in the future about a large issue which would affect everyone in our school community. I think that I gained a lot from this experience, because it gave me a sense of what it takes to work as part of a team, and also individually as I had to go out and use my initiative to research and write an appropriate article to be published in school.
I think that I have gained useful research skills and writing skills in journalism. Also, when I found it difficult to produce or think of an interesting article topic I wasn’t afraid to go and ask for help from others, but on the other hand, I worked well independently to go and research issues and contact people around school to get quotes. I was able to accept constructive criticism from the team and use it to improve my articles and the ways in which I write.
In the same way, I was also able to give constructive feedback to others so that as a team, we produced a successful published newsletter. It has also taught me how important it is to meet deadlines as we all had a responsibility to submit our articles by a certain time in order for them to be published. My involvement in the school newsletter team has helped me to become a better writer and researcher.
I can use these skills and put them to use in my studies at school and eventually when I go out to work later in life. I have developed my teamwork skills which is useful in all areas of life, as it proves I can communicate well and work effectively in a group. I have learnt that it is very useful to keep up-to-date with current affairs especially in your own community, and to be aware of what issues in your community affect you.