Tips on content to include in a school magazine

A school is a community and every community needs news. A school magazine is a way to recognize both individual and school achievements as well as to circulate news, articles, on matters of concern, and for pupils to appreciate one another’s talents. Each school is different and what you include in your school magazine will depend on the character of your school. If it falls to you to put together the magazine and it is your first time doing so, you will want to know what to include. Whether you issue your magazine annually, each term, or every month, there is no need to panic, you can formulate a credible school magazine, which readers will enjoy.

When a publishing house thinks about launching a new magazine, they think first about the magazine’s likely readers. You need to think about your school, and the characteristics of the pupils. In a secondary school, there are pupils aged probably from 11 to 18. You need to appeal to everyone, which is quite a tall order, since there is a huge difference between the two ages. Sometimes, magazine publishers do market research to see what readers want to see in a new magazine. You could do some research in your school to see what pupils want in the school magazine. You could circulate a questionnaire among a selection of pupils from each class.  

Think about how your magazine will look, what artwork, graphics, text, and fonts you will use. You want your magazine to invite readers into its pages, not frighten them. Your magazine needs to look exciting and fun. The most beautifully written magazine in the world will stay on the newsagent’s shelf, if it does not first catch the eye.

Is your magazine going to be a paper magazine, an e-magazine, or a combination of the two? Those with Internet access can read an e-magazine; however, those with no home Internet access may not be able to read the magazine at all. In the United Kingdom, for example, nearly 11 million people have no Internet access at home. It might be wiser to offer a choice, or to issue your magazine as a paper copy.

It is no use producing a magazine only interesting to you. Pack your magazine with items interesting to your readers. Report on school sports fixtures, school trips, both at home and abroad, and school clubs. You will also need articles, features, poems, and pictures, and you might want to include puzzles, and games. You should also include school notices and information. Browse through the many examples of school magazines available on line, to give you some ideas.

You may want to ask pupils within your school for contributions to the magazine. Ask the relevant person, whether you can put a notice on the school notice board, asking for magazine contributions. Contributions coming from all around the school could be way to ensure variety and that your magazine reaches all ages and interests within the school. Ask for contributions from school club members, and from those who have recently been on school outings, trips, or visits. You could ask members of sports teams to report on sports fixtures. Does anyone in the school have an unusual hobby or interest, which could be interesting to others? Articles should be on items to interest all your readers, for example, an article on countering examination or test nerves is relevant to all pupils.

Titles and style of writing are important. You do not want your magazine to seem like a school textbook, or lesson, but at the same time, you do not want to produce something that reflects badly on your school. Remember, people, outside the school, such as parents, local officials or other adults may come across an issue. You should not put anything in your magazine that is not true. Schools, like all communities, are hotbeds of gossip, much of it negative; you should not repeat it in the magazine. If you are ever unsure about whether to put anything into the magazine, either do not put it into the issue, or ask advice from an adult or teacher.

Editing a school magazine is both a responsibility and great fun. It is also something that future employers will be pleased to see on your Curriculum Vitae, because it shows responsibility, commitment, decision-making, time management and other abilities and skills useful in the workplace. In the meantime, you can have fun and learn much in putting together the school magazine. Deciding what to include is the beginning of a journey that will take you to some interesting places. If you begin by seeking to engage, entertain, interest, and inform your readers, you will know what to include in the school magazine.