It was a few minutes before six o’clock, a team of editors were sitting at their desk, busy making final changes to the articles. Everything had to be finished soon, otherwise there would be no newspaper for distribution the next day.
This is something that you’d see in a newsroom every day – except this happened in a small classroom at Victoria Shanghai Academy, where student newspaper The Victorian is produced monthly. The Victorian, which started as a school project by some Year 11 and 12 students seven years ago, is now a leading club in the school with more than 40 editors and many contributors from all across the forms.
The paper has a monthly circulation of around 900 copies, and features news about the school and other schools, comics, games, an editorial, entertainment reviews, a photo gallery, and The Durian, their own version of the American satirical fake news website, The Onion.
Next month, they will publish their 50th edition, a special edition which will also commemorate the paper’s 7th anniversary. In charge of this edition is Ashley Kot, 17, the newspaper’s senior editor. The Year 12 student said running a newspaper is about learning to accept mistakes and flaws.
“We would want everything to be in on time and perfectly formatted, but in reality, we make mistakes. We have a group of passionate students who see these holes, and they come together to patch things together,” said Ashley.
Looking back at the first edition she was responsible for, Ashley could not contain her excitement. She remembered she had all the articles sorted on the counter and just lay on them to celebrate the fact that she managed to put together a 20-page newspaper.
“It’s really exhilarating to see all the work I do in print, but I later spotted mistakes like wrong names, wrong page number, and wrong pictures,” Ashley said, laughing.
Lo Sze-hang, 17, has worked alongside Ashley since day one. She is the paper’s art editor and she designs most of the covers. Managing the cover page design is no easy work, but Sze-hang said she enjoys carrying such responsibility. “I feel very responsible, having to do the cover of the newspaper, but it is also an empowering experience to know that I can contribute to the paper,” said Sze-hang.
When asked to name the greatest challenge in running The Victorian, Ashley said it is supervising the contributors and making sure they respect the editorial deadline.
It’s can be difficult to get students to hand in their work for the student newspaper on time because of the other things they have on their plate such as school work. While the editors first felt uncomfortable for constantly nudging their schoolmates to submit their work, they have become accustomed to the task.
“We realised there is nothing wrong with asking our contributors to hand in things. We learned to become more proactive, and not to be afraid to take charge,” said 16-year-old Sharon Lee Lok-hang, one of the managing editors who will step into Ashley’s shoes after she graduates next year.
The current senior editor advised her successor to love what she does, because passion usually makes the job easier to handle, and to reach out when she is struggling, because many people around them are willing to help.