By Ng Ziqin (20S03H), Chairperson, and Sarah Lok (20A03A), Vice-Chairperson (Editorial)
Six weeks and 67 CCAs later, it’s finally our turn!
A curious and somewhat charming breed of student, the student journalist can often be found in the thick of the action at any school event, chatting effortlessly to students or staff whom we might only have seen in passing outside a lecture theatre, attempting to collect an insider perspective or a pithy quote.
To us, documenting the events that make up our school experience is of paramount importance. If a tree falls and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? If the table tennis team continued their fifteen-year winning streak but no one heard about it, did it really happen?
Therefore, Raffles Press strives to be the heartbeat of the student body, and that means we don’t just capture events. We tell stories. Stories about the biodiversity pond, the people in our school community who often go unseen, and even a teacher who has taken part in an Ironman triathlon.
We provide information—accurate and reliable—about the things you know you want the answers to: “How do I choose my subject combination?”; “When should I buy my school uniform?”; “Which CCA is right for me?”.
But the information we provide isn’t all academic. Sometimes it’s purely recreational, like what a day in the life of the school cat is like. We offer reviews and analyses on popular movie and book releases, and occasionally, do crazy things like trying eight different types of bubble tea on the same day.
We even answer the questions which you never thought to ask: “What happens to unsold fruit in the canteen?”; “How do I become a relief teacher after ‘A’s?”; “What do people type in the Raffles Press search bar?”
While we remain primarily a school press, the stories we cover sometimes transcend the physical boundaries of 1 Raffles Institution Lane. Our adventures have taken us around Singapore to Kranji, Bukit Brown, and cat cafes. This year, we started two new columns: one dedicated to exploring and uncovering the untold stories of RI’s surrounding neighbourhood, and another dedicated to ranking the latest fads.
Sometimes, what we’re trying to cover may not even be something tangible. That’s why we’re constantly looking for fresh means to bring our stories to readers in the best way that we can, trying out new forms of multimedia, and keeping a finger on the pulse of the journalism zeitgeist. As video journalism and interactive visuals become ubiquitous in the newsroom of the future, Raffles Press is also beginning to branch out into photo essays, videography, and accompanying infographics.
Writing is often perceived as a solo activity. Typing away on a keyboard as words appear on your screen might sound like a lonely journey. But that’s not what Raffles Press is about. Here, it’s common for student journalists to team up to write articles or reviews together in pairs, trios, or even foursomes. Press is very much a community of writers who understand one another’s struggles, and are always there to provide support to one another, be it technical or emotional. We meet up every Tuesday from 4.30pm to 6.30pm to hone our skills through self-led training sessions, pitch article ideas to one another, and brainstorm new ideas together. Sometimes, we invite guest speakers to share their insights on journalism: this year, we’ve had talks by a photojournalist, a multimedia journalist, and an environmental correspondent.
Our bonding excursions (affectionately dubbed ‘prexcursions’) and our annual Press Camp are also excellent opportunities for Press members to get to know one another better while braving mosquitoes, the heat, and (domesticated, not wild) animals.
Furthermore, Raffles Press is interested in connecting writers not just within RI, but also across schools. We organise an annual inter-JC press conference, Pressing Ahead, in April each year to connect like-minded student journalists and give them the opportunity to learn from and network with one another.
As a CCA, we are constantly thinking of new ways to create positive change. In 2019, we embarked on a collaboration with Times Reads to promote reading culture in JC students, and published a series of teacher features—coupled with a special print edition—to recognise and celebrate the teachers’ lives outside of school with the RI community.
If you are curious and tenacious, have an eye for stories, and a flair for telling them: we want you. And of course, being comfortable with talking to strangers is absolutely necessary—though this is definitely a skill that can be cultivated over time.
Think you fit the bill? We look forward to seeing you at Press trials this year!