ATOM created two downloadable PDF resource guides – one for primary schools and one for secondary schools – to assist teachers with preparing their school newspaper for entry into Front Page 2018.
Schools who intended to enter Front Page were able to access a free digital subscription to The Age or The Sydney Morning Herald, accessible to all students and staff members within their school.
These resource guides are intended to assist teachers to support their students to work collaboratively to produce a newspaper for Front–Page. Activities in the guide are linked to studying the way news is created and presented by Fairfax Media platforms. The structure and content of newspapers and the importance of journalism to communities is a feature. Specifically, these guides are written to develop students’ knowledge and skills to assist them in producing their own newspaper. They may assist students to:
- Demonstrate some understanding of the historical context of newspapers in Australia;
- Develop an awareness of key Fairfax news conventions and newsmakers that have a significant impact on Australian audiences and culture;
- Develop an appreciation of Australian stories created by Fairfax journalism;
- Read newspapers as historic and cultural documents;
- Think critically about the construction of news and journalism;
- Collaborate with others to create a school newspaper; and
- Demonstrate insight into the place of Fairfax news platforms in Australian culture.
Front Page includes three age group categories:
- Upper Primary (Years 4–6)
- Lower Secondary (Years 7–9)
- Upper Secondary (Years 10–12)
Although the competition is open to all Australian students in those year levels across all subjects, it may be best suited to students studying English, Visual and Media Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. It is anticipated that teachers will use these resource guides in part or full to compliment the creation of their student newspaper for competition submission.
Beyond Front Page, the resource guides could be used as part of a broader study of media literacy, and the way newspapers and journalism contribute to public discourses. These resource guides include information and suggestions for a range of activities, discussions and further research about newspapers and journalism, industry professionals and individual news texts. Teachers may select from the information, extension activities and reference material and modify activities to suit their curriculum context, syllabus and students. Teachers may also determine in what forms – spoken, written, multi-modal, individually or in small or class groups – pre-competition activities are developed.
Teachers are advised to act as an ‘editor-in-chief’ to oversee and direct students as they work to create their school newspaper, guiding students about how and with whom they collaborate, gathering information and selecting design programs.
All articles must be written by the students and may include local community news reports, interviews, articles about school events or sporting events, feature articles on a science, local history, community service or arts issue, book and film reviews, plus other newspaper items such as an editorial. The students will also need to create photographs, cartoons or short news clips to accompany the articles. Once all the content has been prepared, design students in the appropriate age groups can then produce the layout of the newspaper. Students can use Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop, or any other suitable program(s) to design and layout their school newspaper. Ideally, the final assembly will be done in InDesign and an interactive PDF will be exported for entry.