Inside Mark: "It nearly doesn't suck"

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Inside Mark is improving! Three cheers for Mr Li! There are still problems though. In this article we look at the problems, and the things they are finally getting right - with views from various members of our team.
~ Some comments on the Content ~

Tsunami Appeal: One thing which struck me about this story is that if our school raised £1437, that isn?t even a pound per pupil and member of staff ? and considering that a pound was the recommended minimum, I find that very disheartening.

Hello, Dr Payne: I quote: ?We wanted to speak to him again, but unfortunately he was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.? In fact he had left. A few days before this issue was released, Dr Payne quit his job as head of physics, unannounced and unbeknownst even to other members of staff. The school is currently advertising for a replacement head of Physics, so we can only assume he?s not coming back. We intend to look into this at a later date.

Cooking up a New Year Treat: The ?Positive Food Range?, ?100% Thoughtful Ingredients,? well, in my personal opinion they haven?t thought much about what it tastes like. There is hardly any of this ?healthy? food in the vending machines, and being sold alongside all the chocolate bars and crisps ? is anyone going to buy it? I tried some of the ?crisps? (although they turned out to be corn-cracker things) and had to throw them away because they made me feel too sick to eat them. If we are going to impose healthy food on the school, can it not at least be edible?

Worst Excuses: Explain this? Why is the school allowed to print stupid things pupils have said, but we were not allowed to print stupid things teachers have said?

Charity Week 2004 in Review : Dear God! Six pages of things we already knew about, and that happened over a month ago!

?One year 11 student was ?praying all week? for his chance to be kissed. He said ?Being a student who is rarely kissed, this is my favourite time of year. I really hope my luck is in this week.? Unfortunately it was not.? I actually couldn?t believe that. No offence to the person in question, but is being kissed on the cheek really such a highlight of the year?

Melon Mania and Plucky Pillows: Why have these totally separate events been treated as one story?

Christmas Concert: I read the story? then read it again! Why has the same story been put in twice, without even a new title? The text looks like three columns, but in fact its two columns, then the third is a different account of the same thing!

Ripping Reads: As I?m sure the Design Guru will point out below, it is very confusing to see wrote the book, who reviewed the book and who is in the picture. Again there are no boxes or lines to tell apart what are in fact three separate blocks of text.

Sweet Music: Once again, two stories on the same thing!

General Comments: In my opinion 16 pages is far too long, most of that is wasted on white space, stories which are too-long, and a massive review of Charity Week. There were far fewer spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes (an average of one per story), and the paper is slowly becoming more interesting to read. From a design point of view, having one word in each title randomly made bold was really winding me up by the end, since most of the time the word in bold wasn?t even a ?key? word so to speak. Still, credit where credit is due, this is the best issue they have produced yet.

~ From a Reporter: ~
Inside Mark is getting even better! I brought my latest copy to one of my lessons and everyone wanted to read it (including the really annoying, immature people!). About six months ago nobody would touch let alone read Inside Mark. I think it's because Inside Mark has a few new members with great ideas and Mr Li is proving to be a good editor. No offence but Mr Russell always produced the shoddy versions of Inside Mark. I think he didn't have the time to put huge amounts of effort into the newspaper. Mr Li, on the other hand, has been busy sticking up posters for the newspaper meetings and organising stories. One student from year 8 says (about Inside Mark) ?This newspaper is well good!? Not many students mentioned Overmark. Perhaps we should vamp up the website? Maybe we should write more stories. You tell us! We need you to comment on how to improve this loyal online newspaper. After all, there is on average two stories a month that appear on Overmark's website.

Editor's Note: You don't have to be a member of the Overmark team to write stories; stories can be submitted anonymously through the website, or you can contact us if you want to become a member (we don't want personal information, just a name & password so you can log into the member's section of the website)

~ From OM's Graphic Designer: ~
The looks of the paper are moving ahead in leaps and bounds - it's so close to not sucking, if they carry on at this rate they may release a decent issue by the time I leave school! No single element makes me want to puke, but still some niggles:

o) Justified text isn't hard, and would make column boundaries much easier to see.
o) Far too many words are hyphenated to cross lines; personally I've given up relying on the computer to get things right and just do it all manually, but the automatic hyphenator can be tuned to give better results than we have here.
o) Really weird white space - pictures could easily be cropped and stretched to make better use of space
o) The large intro paragraphs are an ok idea, but a bit too big
o) One, two, or three columns. Pick a format and stick with it.
o) New paragraphs have a single or double new line, again; pick one and stick with it - in some cases both styles are used within the same article!
o) The grid of teachers' faces is jarringly out of line. I know publisher makes it incredibly hard to line things up nicely, that's why I dropped it so long ago.
o) The book reviewers' names look at first like they match up with the picture - is the one on the left really named "Pete"?

Only one point of error for every two pages - well done Inside Mark!