1. Seek approval from your principal.
If you plan on publishing a newspaper in your school’s name, you will need to be given approval from your school’s principal. Convince them that a school newspaper is an excellent opportunity to encourage development of writing skills among students and interest in current affairs.
Likely, they will express interest in the idea. But it won’t be that easy… they will likely not give you the “thumbs up” right away as there are other factors to consider, including a willing staff moderator, budget, and student body interest.
If budget presents an issue, bring up the idea of fundraisers and donations to the principal and ask for a monetary goal that would allow the newspaper to move forward.
2. Create a team.
Every school newspaper requires a dedicated team consisting of a staff moderator (typically but not always an English teacher), an editor (presumably you), a copy editor (someone who designs the paper using digital tools), and various students interested in writing. Of course, roles are flexible so if there is initially not enough interest, taking over a few roles at once is okay!
Ask your principal to make an announcement that a newspaper club may be starting up, depending on how many students would consider writing. Then, begin by asking friends to join. If one of your friends expresses interest, ask them to ask more people!
3. Hold your first club meeting.
Determine the content of the newspaper before exploring ways to design the layout of the paper. Articles, a crossword, a comic, and a “letter from the editor” are classics, but feel free to change things around to suit the desires of the contributors.
Articles may consist of a variety of different subjects, including editorials, sports, school sports, school events, politics, student voice (an opportunity for students to share a variety of topics relevant to them and the rest of the student body that might not be found on a mainstream news platform), etc. (see SOURCES > News).
Ask students which topics interest them and make sure to allow them to choose what they write about—this way, they are more likely to submit their articles on time because they will be more self-motivated and interested.
Name the newspaper. Be creative but ensure that the name is relevant to the school in some way.
4. Collect all of the articles from the contributors.
Establish a Google Drive folder and share it with all of the contributors and the staff moderator. This will serve as the most helpful way to obtain the articles.
5. Edit the articles.
Proofreading is one of your fundamental duties as editor of the newspaper. (Trust us, you will not believe how easy it is to make little mistakes that go unnoticed until, of course, the paper is published).
6. The Copy Editor should design the paper and layout the articles.
There are several tools to use for the layout of the newspaper on a computer, such as Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Publisher and even Photoshop (see How to Get Started > Editing Resources).
Headers at the top of each page are important and provide organization.
BE SURE to include pictures along with the text of the articles. This catches readers’ attention.
Include a list of everyone involved in the creation of the issue either on the first page right after the cover or at the very end of the last page; mention the editor-in-chief, copy editor, contributors, cartoonist, etc.
Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion if you need one. Another person can catch things you’ve overlooked, or offer a fresher perspective and solutions.
7. Choose a printing press (if the budget allows for a colour, full-size tabloid issue) OR ask your staff moderator about printing on legal sized paper at your school printers.
8. Communicate with the staff moderator about a release date for the issue and organization of where the freshly printed newspapers can remain until distribution.
9. Actively distribute the paper to the student body after receiving the newspapers.
“Actively” means setting up helpers (editors, a friend, staff moderator) around the school to hand the paper out to other students.