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Source: The Coquitlam Now
Date: Wednesday, February 6, 2002

Few misses and a lot of hits for Moody Secondary's new eZine

It's a hands-on effort for Port Moody Secondary eZine creators.  Paul vanPeenen/NOW

It's a hands-on effort for Port Moody Secondary eZine creators.
Paul vanPeenen/NOW

by Simone Blais - Staff Reporter

Working at the high school student newspaper has to change with the times: keep the news, turf the paper.

Port Moody Secondary is home to one of the first student electronic magazines in B.C., and the project is taking off faster than anyone dreamed. Students from the Web design team first thought of offering an online magazine to increase the hit count on the school's Web site.

"We came up with the idea last year to attract more visitors to our site," Johnson Ng, student Web master, explained. Students from the Web team then invited those in the journalism class to write articles, conduct interviews and produce audio footage to upload on the Web.

The Web site features articles, poems, editorials and creative stories written by teens and teachers about their lives and current events.

Originally, the eZine was created in PDF files, but evolved into Web site form. That solved some of the speed issues for the team, and serves the dual purposes of familiarizing students and staff with the Internet.

At the beginning of the year, the eZine team hoped to publish three issues, but has decided there's enough demand to publish monthly.

The focus of the first issue was Port Moody Secondary's continuing $9.1 million dollar renovation and the impact of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The second edition, uploaded on Jan. 17, was a special edition featuring student walkouts and protests over the B.C. teachers' job action. Students were at the scene of the Gleneagle Secondary protest outside Education Minister Christy Clark's office. They interviewed protesters, took digital photos and one student interviewed the school principal, Dave Derpak, about the effect of job action on the school and administration, uploading the entire conversation on the Net.

One of the ways to measure the success of a publication is the amount of advertising it receives. While the eZine project began with school funding, editor Flora Lee said students are now receiving bookings from businesses that want to advertise in it.

The Web site hit count increases by 20 to 50 people per day, and the eZine team has received nothing but positive comments from students, teachers and community readers.

"Every school has a newspaper," Lee said, explaining the Moody Secondary project is cheaper, easier and more current. "Because it's a Web magazine, we can put audio files, sound effects and 3D animation on the eZine. It's a 21st century magazine."

The dedicated crew is an eclectic bunch of students who are there for different reasons.

Grade 12 student Tom Gifford, 17, volunteers his time to the project because he wants his work published.

"I know nothing about computers or anything like that. I wrote a story for our school paper, The Phoenix, in September but they didn't publish it," he said. "But I like this much better. It's not like a newspaper when you dump a bunch at the door, and hope people pick them up."

Simon Lisaingo, 17, said he is working as part of the yearbook staff, but wanted to promote environmental issues as well.

"I'm in the environment club, and I thought writing articles would help make environmental issues more prominent. It's about awareness."

Grade 11 student Jonathan Chiu, 17, said he's in it for the learning. He's working as an editor for the magazine, which forces him to pick up the grammatical rules of the language.

"My English isn't very good, so I'm editing for the experience," he said. "I think I can learn lots and get some writing experience, too."

The next eZine edition is set to come out this month and can be found at www.pmssblues.net.

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