The Young Post Making the Headlines programme was launched at the beginning of term. So far, six schools have produced a Tuesday cover. Schools select teams of six students and one teacher to oversee the project.
The team submits story ideas to the editor, who chooses one and suggests ways to improve the copy. Then they work on the story: some do research, some write the story, while others design illustrations, take photos or suggest a layout.
The first school to take up the challenge was Renaissance College Hong Kong. Its team decided to write about how mooncakes have been modernised. They were sad to see their story shortened, even though they had been told only about 500 words would be used. But they found it all very rewarding.
"The SCMP tour was very exciting. It gave us a look behind the scenes and we found out how a newspaper is produced, from beginning to end," says team member Esther Kwan. 'My favourite part was seeing our cover story rolling off the presses.'
Second was a team from Hong Kong International School, headed by Michael Yao, who had been a Young Post intern over the summer.
The team came up with six excellent ideas. One of them was about local charity Crossroads. At first, the editor hesitated because not much was new in the story. But the team was able to interview the men who started it, as they had studied at HKIS.
Then the editor wasn't happy with the photos the team had provided. Eventually rights were obtained for photos from the SCMP photo pool, and the team produced a superb cover.
'Creating the front page from scratch was an incredibly challenging task,' says Michael. 'There was a team of writers who focused only on researching and writing the story, then another team working only on the layout ... Because they weren't paid, some people didn't really [make] an effort. However, it was definitely worthwhile when we got to see the SCMP printing press.'
A group of three friends from different schools were next. Their idea was to ask people of different ages and backgrounds for their views on Halloween. Their copy came in on Friday morning, but did not meet Young Post's strict standards. The trio had a lot of work to do over the weekend.
They were lucky, because on the Monday they visited Team YP, the Junior Reporters' Club was holding its first workshop. They listened as the editor explained how news writing is very different from writing for school. They also were able to talk to the page designer, chief sub-editor and sub-editor, and then watch their cover being printed.
'I think writing the story was hard. It's very difficult to remain objective all the time. We tended to put our own opinions in the story,' Jovel Lam Tsz-wing, one of the trio, says.
The group from Sha Tin College was next, under the leadership of Jason Cheung. They interviewed a young American YouTube star, Tiffany Jo Allen, for her tips on internet stardom.
Shung Tak English College looked at how parents treat siblings unequally and set their cover off with a great illustration by team member Yvonne Sit.
And, finally, Homantin Government Secondary School took on the thorny issue of compensated dating to complement the liberal studies section on the same day.
'The students were enthusiastic and a pleasure to work with,' says Young Post editor Susan Ramsay. 'Our team loved having the readers visit, but more importantly, we were able to give the students a unique opportunity to be involved in producing a live publication.'
If you would like to enter a team to make Young Post's cover, click here