It is been a long time since I made my last post here on my blog. Sorry for not responding to your queries for the past weeks. Aside from being busy on computing of grades, I had sleepless nights to finish our campus paper.
I just joined our Division Schools Press Conference last November 7, 2018 in our division. It was my second time to appear in the competition as a coach. I used to be a school journalist when I was in high school. That point of my life made me to appreciate journalism. Now that I am an adviser the flame is greatly burning.
How does it feel to be a school paper adviser?
Honestly, it is stressful. You need to be an owl to edit and proofread articles. Every SPA wants to have a paper which is error free. However, mistakes are inevitable. Aside from that, you need to train your journalists for individual events. Last year, I had three DSPC qualifiers. This year, I had only one. The nervousness really creeps down to my core as my contestants join their events.
There are times that I feel frustrated. Layouting is a hard thing. I need to find a layout artist who can help me to finish our paper. This year, I had to seek help of another layout artist because the artist we dealt last year went to Manila. I was in a panic mode that I already waved the white flag. Until my former student in college offered his help. I felt relief, but I cannot stop thinking the outcome of the collaboration.
Moreover, finding a printing press is another immense challenge. I tried to be rejected because some cannot entertain us anymore due to massive bulk of papers made by other schools. I am blessed because there was a printing press accepted our paper.
The trials do not stop there.
A school paper exists if there is funding. We collect paper fee with legal bases. The problem is we only had meager amount which releasing of printed copies difficult. As of now, I borrowed money from my family to release our paper. I hope that there will be funding for campus paper to encourage every school to produce theirs. Maybe that will happen if there will be amendments on Campus Journalism Act.
Heartbreaking moments cannot be avoided. I feel sad every time my journalists and our paper lose in the competition. I need to make my learners happy despite what happened. It is part of the contest. I admit that I feel frustrated right now on having no winnings especially in the school paper contest. I also thought of resting our pens and stop operating our English newspaper. There are my friends who are willing to help me in the next competition. I hope the passion is still there. I just feel that I am a failure. But, I need to be strong as I need to continue the life of our paper which was founded last year. I do not want our efforts to disappear.
I just need to set aside victories and defeats. After all, I am here as a sentinel for press freedom. I need to put in mind that I am a school paper adviser honing the budding journalists that could write, sketch, and capture better future of our country. I am here not to compete, but to spread the importance of campus paper in schools and in the country.
If you are planning to be a school paper adviser or if your principal assigned you to be one, here are my tips.
- Have basic knowledge in journalism. You need to know the areas of school paper publication. You need to differentiate news from feature. Sports lingo is a must have as an adviser. You need to find out the purpose of a dummy. A paper adviser should be knowledgeable in journalistic writing because it is a specialized form of writing.
- Work under pressure. Your paper should be published before the deadline. This is not easy because you have your teaching loads. Balancing is the key. You need to edit articles of your staff immediately to avoid rushing. Honestly, I stumble in paper production because I have to cram in doing the finishing touch of the articles. Have time management.
- Encourage your journalists intensively. The life of the paper also lies on the participation of your school scribes. You need to elucidate their presence in the editorial board. Pose a question such “Why are you here?” They should really know their purpose and their duties. Then, you need to assist them in doing their coverage to ensure that they are doing well. If they fail, cheer them up. Tell them that there is room for learning.
- Have school paper organization and management. To make your paper successful, you should have organization and management. Select the editorial board wisely. Make sure that you have time for meetings. Assign deadlines and help them meet the demands. You need to make sure everything is fine including the working relationship of the journalists.
5. Benchmarking. As a beginner, it is a must to seek help from those who are experienced. Have talks with your fellow school paper advisers. Ask them if they can give you tips. Having their school paper in your hands is a bonus as other SPAs do not give a printed one. I pray that all advisers help one another in paper publication. I understand that there are secret formulae they want to keep. Let us be generous to everyone. I suggest that all the divisions will have a display area where the paper advisers can glance on the winning papers.
Being a school paper adviser is not easy. You need to brace yourself for obstacles ahead of your way. You need to have a high stress tolerance to survive.
For those paper advisers who are reading this post, I want also to know your practices. I want to learn from you. As of now, I struggle in layouting. If you have a software, I hope you can share it to me. For my visitors especially those I help in their lessons, there is one thing I request. If you can donate for my blog and for campus paper publication, please contact me.