The Media Team overhauls approach to journalism
The annual training session, which took place at the ESF Centre on August 30th, left Sha Tin College’s aspiring journalists inspired to continue the Media Team’s mission. During the interactive workshop, speakers shared numerous stories about their experiences in the field of communications. Although an emphasis was placed on the development of journalistic skills, the event also served as a refreshing break from the daily demands of the GCSE and IB.
The training session began with an introduction to journalism by Rob Shorthouse, ESF’s new Director of Communications, and Vicky Hill, Communications Manager at Island School. During their presentation, the pair stressed the importance of strong head and opening lines. After examples of gripping but precise headlines were shown to the Media Team, journalists were encouraged to create their own based on the experiences of those sitting next to them. Leeann Tong (13G1), Editor-in-Chief of the Media Team, came up with the riveting headline “The case of Mitten – how Martha Chow’s overweight cat successfully slimmed down in time for her second birthday,” to much applause and laughter.
The journalists also received training regarding interviewing techniques. While Mr Shorthouse’s past experiences provided valuable insight into what constitutes an effective interview, Ms Hill’s emphasised the importance of impartiality in journalism. This guidance from Mr. Shorthouse and Ms. Hill were essential to the Media Team training day, with Solomon Lam from 11D1 commenting that it this guidance was “Crucial in developing the quality of our journalism, and if nothing else, has spurred us to act professionally and to the best of our ability.”
This message was reiterated by other officers part of ESF’s communication department, who offered invaluable advice regarding journalistic integrity. One communication officer advised journalists to never ‘compromise their own morals’ in order to retain their ‘ethical core’. They suggested running the article through the source itself where possible to ensure the content truthfully portrays the reality. However, they reassured the journalists that maintaining authenticity and objectivity eventually becomes second nature, with most journalists developing a ‘spidey sense’, a welcome comedic relief in reference to Spider-man’s ability to predict danger. Emily Wong (12G2), Lead Journalist, exclaimed how the conversation offered an ‘interesting insight into how ethics and journalism are interlinked’, and hopes this message will resonate within the journalist’s work.
The team also explored different writing techniques and were taught different methods to capture the reader’s attention. Editors-in-Chiefs Leeann Tong (13G1) and Martha Chow (13X1) emphasised the importance of consistent tone and style. Inspired by the success of past pilot publications, they also announced the introduction of two new types of articles. opinion and feature articles, to be published in the following months. Covering diverse subject matters, opinion articles will allow journalists and readers to open discourse on important community and international topics, whilst feature articles will delve into the different student led groups in Sha Tin College and celebrate their successes. The Media Team’s leadership anticipates that the introduction of these new formats will appeal to the community and boost readership, as well as foster discussion on issues in the Sha Tin College community.
With the training course complete, the journalists issued a joint statement, promising “professional and honest accounts of events and student experiences”. The leadership of the Media Team concurred with this statement, promising students quality content and imploring the Sha Tin College community to continue their support for the Media Team. As leader of the photography division, Kevin Do Cao (12G2) acclaimed that the experience was, “Invaluable, and will aid me when I train the next group of photographers and ensure a professional standard is managed.” The journalists thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the workshop at the ESF centre, and will apply what they have learned in their future pieces to epitomise the Media Team’s commitment to quality reporting.
Written by Tanaya Wagh 13D2 and Bobo Chan 13D1
Copy Edited by Leeann Tong 13G1 and Martha Chow 13X1