By Lynn Hong (18A13A), Chairperson
The student journalist is an elusive species. By virtue of their small population size, they are hard to spot amongst the herds of Rafflesians. They can sometimes be seen skulking in the Performing Arts Centre during performances or on the sidelines of major inter-school sporting events. It is rumoured that they are attracted by the scent of Google Docs and Microsoft Word. Some have even said that they might be the shadow organisation behind the Word of Mouth site, posing as “Raffles Press” on the anonymous expanse of cyberspace.
In a bout of rather circular logic, these student journalists justify their existence with the cryptic claim of “student journalism”. The word appears at least once in all our manifestos, About pages, and previous CCA previews, so today, we’re breaking it down for prospective applicants.
At first glance, a student journalist’s role is to document school activities. We pride ourselves on providing accurate and balanced accounts of events. But there is more to our work than dry recount, so taking it one step further, our job is to probe. We look for the larger phenomenon, the face behind the name, and the story behind the success. But at the highest level, we aim to illuminate. We hope to share insight, to make meaningful comment on our experiences as Rafflesians, students, and Singaporeans.
Have we achieved our full potential as a CCA? I’ll be the first to say, not quite yet. But we have achieved a run of stellar results. As the first of the few JC presses maintaining a public website, we have amassed over 3 million hits on Word of Mouth from all over the globe, 3000 followers on our Facebook page, and have had notable articles go viral in Singapore. Clearly, writing for Raffles Press is much more than just an after-school affair – it’s a chance to make your voice heard.
We are constantly challenging ourselves to grow, breaking new ground with collaborations with BooksActually and HCI Publications Society. Looking further afield, Raffles Press is committed to cultivating the local student journalism scene. We have organised Pressing Ahead, the annual conference of JC presses and the only one of its kind in Singapore, which will run its third instalment in 2018.
Prospective members can look forward to weekly sessions on Tuesdays from 4.30–6.30pm. During sessions, we conduct training and discussions to polish our journalistic skills, or brainstorm and work on articles. Members are free to pitch their ideas to editors – with our wide variety of content and openness to discussing contentious topics, there is little that we consider definitively off-limits. This experience of working alongside like-minded peers and dedicated editors to find the right angle and balance in an article provides you valuable insight into writing within a formal organisation, and the opportunity to hone the lifelong skills of inquiry and writing.
We are looking for students with a sound command of English and a keen and curious mind, eager to seek out and engage with issues and topics of interest in their communities. A good litmus test would be to look around our website – if you like what you see, or better yet, if you think you can do better, we welcome you to trials!