Students get a taste of newsroom life

Comat instructor Roy Seah (centre) coaching Xinmin Secondary students.

Aspiring teen newshounds asked questions of a "Minister of Canals" at a mock press conference.

The impromptu session centred on the beautification of Singapore's canals and was helmed by Straits Times social media editor Ernest Luis, who gave pointers on writing online news updates.

The first of a two-day workshop at the auditorium of Singapore Press Holdings News Centre featured sessions by Straits Times journalists and editors. Razor TV editor Jonathan Ng, deputy editor of Schools Serene Luo and executive sub-editor Mak Mun San offered techniques on shooting news videos, reporting and page design - skills needed for The Straits Times National Youth Media Competition.

The ninth annual 24-hour challenge, to be held on Nov 19 at the SPH Auditorium, is the reformatted Straits Times National Schools Newspaper Competition. It now includes multimedia components.

Students were also coached on Adobe InDesign, the competition's official software.

The workshop ends tomorrow with a session on photography and videography by Canon Singapore, the competition's official imaging and technology partner, and sponsor of prizes, printers and digital SLR cameras.

Sixty secondary school students, in teams of six from 10 finalist schools, were shortlisted from 23 entries nationwide.

All but one team made it to the workshop: Nanyang Girls' High School, Singapore American School, Bukit View Secondary, NPS International School, School of the Arts, Victoria School, Raffles Institution, Hwa Chong Institution and Xinmin Secondary. (Seng Kang Secondary could not attend.)

OCBC Bank, the contest's first presenting sponsor, was excited by the teams from various schools. Its head of group corporate communications, Ms Koh Ching Ching, said: "Diversity is good for the competition - it will motivate the students to draw on their experiences and talents."

The revised format keeps current with media trends, simulating the newsroom as it is today, said Ms Serene Goh, The Straits Times' Schools editor. "Journalists don't just write for print; they file updates all day, do videos - everything."

So for the first time, to win the top prize of a three-week newsroom internship and $3,000, teams must design a front page of The Straits Times, produce a news video and post breaking news updates online.

Winners of the silver award will receive $2,000; and the bronze, $1,000.

There are three merit prizes worth $500 each and four $200 consolation prizes, as well as six Canon Pixma printers and two Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 tablets.

sherquek@sph.com.sg

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