I FIRST applied for the BRATs Young Journalist Programme run by The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) team a few years ago, as I’ve always loved to write for leisure.
Participants had to go through three stages of selection at the time. Unfortunately, I did not get through the second stage. Fast forward to early this year, and I was finally accepted into the programme.
The first article I worked on as a BRATs participant was a creative short story written as a response to the poem Sad I Ams by Trevor Millum. To those of you who remember reading that issue, wasn’t it interesting?
Each time the NiE issue was published, I always flipped to the BRATs section and pored eagerly over every single article, be it an interview, a listicle, or a reflective piece. The articles never failed to mesmerise me as they were written by my peers.
As a new participant, I’ve contributed a fair share of articles, thanks to the Star-NiE team that always came up with interesting topics. Frankly speaking though, I feel that I could have contributed more.
With each BRATs assignment that I completed, I gained new perspectives, while honing my writing skills. It was through researching my assignment topics that I discovered a plethora of new knowledge.
For instance, when I was preparing a listicle on the world’s obscure sports, I came across so much information that had previously been foreign to me. I was dumbfounded when I found out that Quidditch is an actual sport!
Moreover, writing for BRATs has allowed me to develop my creativity. How do I write my first paragraph to grab my readers’ attention, how do I sustain their interests in the subsequent paragraphs, and what expressions and phrases should I throw in to excite those keen on picking up new vocabulary – these were some of the questions that challenged me to do better each time I sat down to complete my assignment.
Additionally, I most looked forward to reading the edited copy of my articles. That was when real learning took place as I compared my written pieces with the corrected versions, and picked up areas I could improve on. It came in useful when I was practising my writing skills in preparation for the Malaysian University English Test.
One of my memorable moments with BRATs was when I was given the opportunity to write about my teacher who was retiring after 32 years of service in my school. Our student council wanted an article to be published in the newspaper to commemorate the teacher’s retirement but did not have the avenue to do so. Thanks to the Star-NiE team, I was given the green light to pursue the story.
I remember the day it was published like it was yesterday. It felt like I had won a Nobel Prize!
Throughout the year, my experience with BRATs has been nothing short of awesome. I hope to contribute more articles as we move on to 2021.
I only have a few words to say to those of you reading this: “If you never try, you’ll never know!”
Are you our next BRATs writer?
STAR-NiE is looking for young talents (aged between 14 and 22 in 2021) to be part of our 2021 BRATs Young Journalist Programme.
Throughout the year-long programme, participants will experience life as journalists, contributing ideas, conducting interviews, and completing writing and video assignments.
Active participants will earn a certificate of participation at the end of the year. Top performers will win a coveted internship spot with The Star at the end of the programme (this is subject to change depending on circumstances).
To apply, produce a 500-word essay or a one-minute TikTok video that screams “Why I want to be a BRATs young journalist!”. The essay should be written in your email body while the TikCode should be attached to your email. Title your email “BRATs 2021 Application” and send it to email@example.com by Nov 30 with a snazzy photograph of yourself.
The application must be submitted with your full name, age (in 2021), school name, MyKad number, home address and mobile number.
Since 1997, Star-NiE has been making a difference in the English language classrooms nationwide. Published on Wednesdays, the NiE pullout is available only through school subscriptions of The Star.
For more information on Star-NiE’s BRATs programme, go to facebook.com/niebrats.