CCA Previews ’17: Raffles Press

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By Bay Jia Wei (17S06R), Chairperson

It is odd—how after editing the tenth CCA Preview, I am still struggling to put Press into words. It is odd, because it is always the other way round. Probably no CCA in RI has shared such great affinity with Google Docs, Microsoft Word, and WordPress; or the odd tiff with blank pages on 3 am mornings when the mind starts to be more functional.

Press has come a long way. Since the establishment of our online publication in 2012, Word of Mouth has spread rapidly, garnering more than 2 million views. But neither legacy nor tradition dictate Press. Rather, we are governed by the down-to-earth pursuit of perspectives, and the desire to share these insights with an audience.

The student journalist observes the environment keenly, internalises these ideas, and then strives to articulate their opinion coherently through the written word.

A congregation of Press members

The dynamics of Press, if you think about it, are rather fascinating, in that it bears its own social contract. In order to justify our existence as a CCA in the school, we write about school life. To remain relevant, we talk about issues that matter to Rafflesians—those that fall within school and those beyond the fence in the wider community that surrounds our institution.

Aspiring student journalists can look forward to weekly Tuesday sessions from 3.00–5.00pm, where we work on upcoming articles individually or as a team. Operating on an open culture that welcomes debate and discourse, Press does not shy away from discussion on contentious issues. Instead, members work with the Editorial Team to formulate an angle that approaches these sensitive issues in a manner appropriate for a student publication.

For the first half of the year, the club will be involved extensively in the coverage of CCA events—Sports Season, and Performing Arts’ showcases. On top of our online publication that houses event coverages, opinion editorials, and reviews amongst many others, Press also contributes to the biannual school magazine Rafflesian Times.

This year, to foster increased collaboration and learning between different schools, Raffles Press will also be organising the second annual Pressing Ahead conference for JC Presses in Singapore.

Student journalism presses ahead

Being a student journalist means having to strive to be balanced in our writing, and in so doing asking ourselves—what are the different arguments surrounding an issue? How do we negotiate and give credit to conflicting perspectives?

Most certainly, we do not have all the answers, as student journalism is always a work in progress, often putting our discernment, discretion and daring to the test. Journalism is almost never a zero-sum game—everyone thinks they are right. The student journalist’s role is to navigate this plethora of views, and in all journalistic integrity, present their version of the truth.

In the age of social media, where one can easily turn to angsty Facebook rants, or philosophical Instagram captions for an audience, what exactly does Press bring to the table? At the very basic level, being a part of an organisation helps in curbing every writer’s nightmare of inertia.

More significantly, Press gives you a taste of what being in a formal organisation might be like. Collaborating with CCA mates, working closely with editors, and striding the fine line between political correctness and insensitivity—these are valuable and transferable life skills to be gained.

If you have observations to share, opinions to voice, and are willing to commit to the challenges that student journalism will confront you with, we look forward to having your name on our byline.

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