ENTRIES to this year's The Straits Times National Schools Newspaper Competition have raised the bar for the fifth annual event.
Ten finalists edged out other student newspaper submissions from schools islandwide, for their engaging stories, high standards of writing and design skills. In teams of five, 10 secondary schools will race to produce a four-page newspaper within 24 hours on Nov 4 and 5 at the Singapore Press Holdings News Centre at Toa Payoh.
Straits Times assistant news editor Serene Goh, one of the judges, said submissions were generally of a higher standard than those of previous years.
'Narrowing the list to the final 10 was tough. Not all the judges agreed - we all had our favourites,' she said. 'If the entries are anything to go by, there should be an almighty fight for the top spot this year.'
The finalists are a mixed bag of old hands and newcomers. In alphabetical order, they are: Ang Mo Kio Secondary School, Anglo- Chinese School (Barker Road), Cedar Girls' Secondary School, CHIJ St Joseph's Convent, CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School, Holy Innocents' High School, NUS High School, Pei Hwa Secondary School, Raffles Institution and Victoria School.
Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) was last year's champion while CHIJ St Nicholas Girls', Victoria School and Raffles Institution have each been in the top three thrice before, since the contest began in 2005.
Making their maiden appearances are the trio of CHIJ St Joseph's Convent, Holy Innocents' High and NUS High School.
They will be facing higher competition standards too. In addition to serving up the usual fare of crisp news reporting and attractive photo spreads, the teams must also present an infographic.
In preparation for the showdown, all will attend a training session held by Comat Training Services at SPH's News Centre next Wednesday to learn how to use Microsoft Publisher, the software used during the finals.
The winning team will take home the gold award of $3,000, as well as earn a month- long internship in the newsroom.
The competition is organised by The Straits Times, in partnership with Comat Training Services and Microsoft.
This article was first published in The Straits Times.