CCA Previews ’19: Raffles Press

By Loh Lin (19A01D), Chairperson

Pulitzer winner James Steele says that it is part of a journalist’s duty to give those without a voice a chance to be heard. A noble ambition, but one that may ring hollow in the context of a school setting. The nature of our existence as student journalists outside the familiar world of big newsrooms seems almost frivolous in comparison, and thus prompts the question of what exactly Raffles Press does and what purpose we serve. Naturally, we’ve come prepared with answers.

A simple sweep through our website would reveal a disproportionate ratio of coverage articles to any other category, which seems to suggest that Press mainly documents school events. While we are indeed extensively involved in covering the multitude of events that take place over the year, our work does not stop there.

We also seek to articulate our opinions in a coherent manner, offer insight into the motivations behind contemporary student life, and humanize people we tend to overlook. We serve as a channel through which individuals can find information to inform their decisions on their subject combination or career paths. (Amusingly, our search bar for articles is growing to resemble Google, if search history is anything to go by.)  Looking beyond, we hope to make an impact on the community we write for. To do this, we investigate social phenomenon, talk about things that are hard to talk about, and illuminate ground sentiment as best as we can.

Seven years ago, the outgoing chairperson of Press had asked a question: would Press still exist five years later? Seven years on, and a combined three million views later, we continue to gear ourselves up for the barrage of articles we will inevitably churn out as the year runs its course. In other words, we are very much alive and kicking. Now that survival isn’t the most pivotal concern, we are looking to grow.

This means that the personal development of our members is a cornerstone of our time spent in Press. We are always looking to pick up new skills — in fact, we’ve spent the past few months working with Raffles Film Society, learning about and experimenting with video-documentation. After all, not every story is delivered best through the written word.

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Press members trying to make sense of iMovie

Grappling with contentious ideas is another common experience among members. While such topics are generally welcome, OB markers make things slightly more difficult. However, this also pushes us to examine our own vantage points more closely in the attempt to defend our arguments. In the process, we are forced to negotiate with ambiguities that we may have previously neglected to consider, exposing us to new perspectives.

If this all sounds a little abstract and demanding, you can at least take some comfort in the fact that over here, even a year on, we are still learning. If anything, you end up developing a higher resistance to criticism, which is always helpful for life in general.

Beyond the articles and deadlines, though, what matters more is that we are a community of writers consistently seeking to engage with the community and uncover stories. This means that we are here for one another, challenging each other to grow into better writers. To that end, we are heavily involved in planning Pressing Ahead, our annual inter-JC press conference, to facilitate interaction between school presses and emphasize that no student journalist exists in a vacuum.

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Pressing Ahead conference 2018

Prospective members can expect weekly sessions on Tuesdays from 4.30pm-6.30pm, during which we conduct various activities to hone our journalistic skills or brainstorm potential article ideas. Additionally, members can look forward to the occasional field trip or sharing by external speakers. Sessions are also the perfect time for members to pitch their own ideas — when else would you find twenty other people readily available to offer critique?

We are looking for earnest and open-minded individuals who are committed to learning more about the world around them and making meaningful comment on the experiences and perspectives they encounter. They should also be able to articulate their ideas in a coherent manner. If you believe you fit the bill and are interested in learning the trade, we look forward to meeting you!

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