CAS Club Focus: Newspaper Club

After noticing a need for a newspaper club at Meadowridge, Grade 10 students Maryam T., Leia O., and Ellie R. met with Madame Lamaj and Mr. Schofield to discuss plans to start a new CAS club this year. We sat down with Maryam T. to learn more about the success of the newspaper club, the print cycle, and her greatest memory.

Newspaper Club group photo

Tell me about the newspaper club.

The newspaper club is a student-led CAS club that creates and publishes a newspaper for Meadowridge. This club is meant to be a welcoming space where students can explore journalism since there is no journalism elective. Students enjoy that we have something to show for with all the work that we put into creating the newspaper and we hope that it is fun for students, teachers, and staff to read.

Why did you decide to join the Newspaper Club?

I’ve always super interested in the news and events that are going on in the world, and I always read the newspaper. Whenever I watched movies and tv shows, I would notice how schools had a newspaper club and how we didn’t have one here at Meadowridge. So, I thought I might as well start one. I thought a lot of people would be really interested and that this would be valuable to the school. We are fortunate to have the weekly e-Gryphon that goes out with important information, but students are not able to submit articles and pieces to be included so we like to think that this is the student version of the e-Gryphon.

In 2020, Leia, Ellie, and I were speaking with Madame Lamai and thought it would be great to start a newspaper, so we set a goal to start a newspaper club this year. We connected with Mr. Schofield, and I spoke at a few assemblies to gain interest which helped us form the Newspaper club.

What does a typical meeting of the Newspaper club look like? What sorts of activities are involved?

We aim to release monthly issues of the newspaper. At the beginning of the month (cycle), we brainstorm what topics we are interested in or would like to learn more about. We then decide what kind of article it will be before we transition to brainstorming. We also alternate who leads each week based on our various skills.

Ellie takes the lead for brainstorming week. She will ensure that students have a good handle with their topic and how they are going to obtain their research. Even with absences, Ellie still connects with students to ensure they know what they are working on for the week.

The following week, students bring in a first draft of their research or of their article. This week allows students time to continue writing.

We then transition to peer editing. The next week is focused on grammar and the structure of articles. Leia provides students with grammar feedback, and I help with editing after. Students share their articles on a Google doc with Leia and I so that we can monitor the progress of each article.

Once we have signed off on all the articles, we run everything past Madame Lamaj to get her edits and feedback on topics to make sure everything is appropriate for the school and the community. Mr. Schofield provides his feedback before we sit down and place everything together to create the newspaper. It’s a process, but we have streamlined it to create a cycle so everything flows through nicely.

Do you have a specific role within the club?

I am editor-in-chief. My role is also to mediate everything, make sure everyone is all set and edit the structure of articles and provide feedback. I also teach journalism techniques.

Why should students join the Newspaper Club?

If you are interested in writing, this is a great place for you to experience writing in a comfortable way. In L&L class or any other class, you get assessed on your writing whereas in this club, you are being helped and guided along the way. This is a great place to practice and share in this interest. People now share their opinions online with no structure and this is good practice for students to have a structured to formulate their opinions and say them in a way that is polite and respectful.

What does this club mean to you?

It means a lot. It brings me happiness; I always love going to meetings and that feeling we get once the newspaper comes out is very rewarding for me. To see students’ growth is so rewarding. In the beginning students might have been writing for fun but now to see them structuring their work and doing research, to see them applying these techniques is so rewarding. Helping others find their passion and what they want to write about, that makes me excited.

How often does the club meet?

Every Friday after school from 3:30 to 4:30pm

What is your favourite memory from the Newspaper club so far?

A week before our first newspaper came out, everyone was rushing to finish their articles. When it first came out, we were so happy and clapping. We played the Beatles (a Newspaper club favourite) on the loft board and took a moment to celebrate this amazing accomplishment together. Without the Newspaper club, I would’ve never made these friends and connections and that is important to me. We work as a unit no matter what with peer editing. I love to see the collaboration.

What is your greatest takeaway?

I learned so much about how to lead a club. I have never done this before, and it is so much more work than you would think. It is also so satisfying. I learned how to organize everyone and ensure they are meeting deadlines without nagging. I am still working on it, but there is always room to improve.