Hands-on Training on Newspaper Planning
Promiti Prova Chowdhury
Photos: Saddat Hossain
Shahnoor Wahid, Joint Editor of the Daily Sun paid a visit to University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) as the guest speaker in a seminar titled, “The Daily Miracle: Publication of English Newspapers in Bangladesh” on November 24, 2011. Held at ULAB's campus B, the seminar was arranged, mainly for the students of Media Studies and Journalism.
In the seminar, Shahnoor Wahid explained how a newspaper organisation runs and how to plan daily newspapers, supplements and newsletters. Pointing to the students he said that in whichever organisation they work, be it a media house, a college or an NGO, the first task that might come to them is to plan a newsletter, because of their Mass Communication background. So it is a must for these students to read different newsletters and magazines regularly and observe the patterns used there.
He shared how he initiated the campus magazine, Star Campus of The Daily Star. For it, he first constructed the notion that it will be a platform for students to write about their campus life, trends, interviews, travelogues, projects etc and presented the dummy magazine to the Board of Directors. Then the board decided the number of pages, size and the economics regarding this new initiative. So he suggested the students that if they want to plan a magazine or something alike, they have to sit in groups, go through different papers and jot down their ideas. In their mind they should be clear about their target readers and plan accordingly.
Then he chalked out the technical sides including the size, number and quality of papers- the three extremely important elements in planning a paper. The economics should be kept in focus from the very beginning and fixing the source of finance, getting sponsors etc should be a vital consideration while planning.
At the seminar, he showed some popular current English magazines like, Star Campus-The Daily Star, The Star-The Daily Star, Morning Tea-Daily Sun, Probe Magazine, Brand Forum, The Weekend Magazine of The Independent and differentiated the size and quality of paper used in them. He pointed out how making little changes in the size of papers can cut the expenses drastically and mentioned that number of pages and usage of colours are also two other vital factors that contribute to the finance.
After 10 years of working experience in a newspaper, one might get the responsibility of planning the daily newspaper. Again the technical sides like, size, number and quality of papers, usage of colours, inches of columns are also there. But the most important of all is naming the paper, which should be done at dawn. Showing the Daily Sun, he explained the different sections present in it; like, front page, national, international, editorial, sports, business and culture section. How the title of each page is set, how the contents are decided-he explained them candidly. For example, the editorial is the only section which does not have advertisements. On the other hand, the business section is given priority because they are the main ad providers. He discussed how the most important news pieces are catered on the front and last pages and how the news links are given.
Subsequently he described the whole mechanism of a newspaper in response to the students' queries. He said, “Reporters are like infantries of army. They are the front line fighters who go to the field and bring back news materials.” He presented the newspaper hierarchy in a picturesque manner showing the positions of reporters, chief news reporter, sub-editors, news editors, joint news editors, associate editor and editor, and talked on how the leads are decided.
The enchanting part came at the end when students were divided to sit in groups and come up with dummy magazines within 20 minutes. In white papers they had to design the magazine, give a
title, and decide its content and the layout of pages.
The teams presented their dummy magazines based
on subjects like festivals, art and culture, lifestyle, environmental issues, sports, etc. The guest speaker appreciated them wholeheartedly.
The whole seminar was coordinated and moderated by Assistant Professor, M Asiuzzaman and Senior Lecturer, Monami Haque of the Department of Media Studies and Journalism, ULAB. The team of ULAB's upcoming “Business News Digest” attended the seminar which includes students from different backgrounds other than Media Studies. They expressed content and said that this seminar was crucial for them. In his concluding speech M Asiuzzaman said, though it started as a seminar, it ended like an interactive workshop and thanked Shahnoor Wahid for sharing his invaluable ideas.
DID YOU KNOW?
Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain
Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain was born into a Bengali Muslim upper-class family in the small village of Pairaband in the district of Rangpur, north of present day Bangladesh, then a part of the colonial British province of Bengal Presidency. Her father was Zahiruddin Mohammad Abu Ali Saber, a well-educated, influential landowner whose massive estate was a stronghold for the traditional way of life. Rokeya had two brothers (Abul Asad Ibrahim Saber and Khalilur Rahman Abu Jaigam Saber) and two sisters (Karimunessa and Humaira). Being boys, her brothers were first educated at home (as was the tradition) then sent to St. Xavier's, one of Calcutta's most prestigious colleges. Rokeya and her sisters only received traditional education at home. As it was the tradition in high-class Muslim families, girls learned to read Arabic (so as to be able to read the Koran) and Urdu (in order to read the popular books on "feminine" conduct). They were kept from learning Bengali and English precisely because they were spoken by non-Muslims as well. Going against the grain, Rokeya's oldest brother, who was exposed to Western education, was in favor of educating women. He secretly taught Rokeya English and Bengali at home. Her legacy is that of a Muslim woman who was born and raised in purdah. Yet, she was able to rise beyond the limitations that her society placed upon her. With the help of her "liberal" brother and husband, she was not only able to write (in Bengali and English) but took significant steps to educate the women in her country.
Information Source: Internet