Ralph Yap is an important member of the MUN Press Team at Doha College and is the head of the Press team for DCMUN
Most students have experienced MUN as a delegate. Many participants opt to be delegates for their first conference, and all the chairs and executives were once delegates too. I was a delegate when I first started MUN, and although the position was interesting and educational, I felt that it wasn’t a position I would do well in. Being a delegate might not be for everyone, and that’s fine. The great thing about MUN is that it offers so many different opportunities in different areas for students to excel in. One such area is journalism. Each MUN organisation produces a magazine for every conference, and behind each issue is a press team that documents the events and the people involved in the conference. Not everyone gets a chance, or chooses, to be a part of this group of writers, photographers, and layout artists, so I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the inner workings of the Doha College MUN press team, and see what a typical conference day is like for these journalists.
The fifth annual One Day Training Conference (ODTC) was hosted by Doha College and held on March 20, 2015. But preparation for this conference extended weeks before the actual conference date. For the members of the press, many of whom were new to either the team, MUN, or both, this involved getting to grips with the conference and the issues being debated, as well as being assigned roles and establishing a system of communication within the team. The writers and photographers were each designated to a committee, or committees, where they would be gathering material from on the day. It is important that everyone knows what to do so that things go smoothly on the day.
Once that was sorted, it was time to work on the Pre-Conference issue. Every conference is preceded by a Pre-Conference issue that is uploaded to the DCMUN website and made available to download. This year, it featured an interview with the new President of DCMUN, Thushan Puhalendran, and the new Secretary General, Michael Young.
On the day of the conference, the press team were instructed to meet at 7 AM, an hour before the conference was scheduled to begin, in order to set everything up and get ready for the day’s events. Just like each committee is assigned to a classroom that acts as a debate hall, the press team is assigned a room that serves as a workplace, a hive of creativity where the team can produce works of the highest quality that represent the school and the conference. The IT room available to the DCMUN press team, the “home base,” if you will, has a line of computers on its perimeter and plenty of desks for the team to work on.
During lobbying and debating hours, starting from 8 AM, the writers and photographers were free to perambulate the school and their assigned committee rooms and observe the goings-on around the conference. Breaks in between debates presented opportunities for writers to conduct interviews and interact with the delegates and chairs, and start forming the basis of their articles. So for the first hour or so into the conference, the press room was largely void of people, save for a couple of members coming in to grab a snack (journalism really stirs up one’s appetite). Things were, for the most part, quite relaxed.
It was in the final hours of the conference when things started to get a little more hectic. The team had only 2 hours to get everything finished. That meant completing 600-word articles and having them edited, uploading over 100 photos to Google Drive, and laying out all the articles and photos in magazine format ready for printing by noon. There was a lot to get through. The light clacking of keyboards filled the room as writers typed out their pieces. Photographers sifted through their photos to select ones to be used in the issue and layout artists prepared for the wave of articles and images that would soon come flooding their way.
There’s something about the mess of charging cables and the frantic mood that gives the press room a real buzz. The rush to have everything done by a certain time is all part of the experience. It creates pressure which pushes the team to deliver the best they can. Although the work can be taxing at times, especially with a deadline constantly looming over my head, it’s what I like about being a member of the press team. Being a member of the press allows aspiring writers, photographers, and layout artists the opportunity to experience what working for a real publication is like – an experience that is extremely rewarding.