RUSHING to catch the last post after an 11-hour day brought home the realities of newspaper journalism to pupils at St Paul's girls' school in Hammersmith and Fulham, west London.
But the 16-year-old winners of this year's TES Newsday competition were inspired by the "frenzied yet fun" experience of putting together a newspaper.
Georgia Hicks, Kate Maltby, Jessie Bridgett and Sophie Bower, who jointly edited The Marble, said: "We learned how stressful and chaotic it can be putting together a newspaper in one day, but it was an invaluable learning experience."
More than 2,500 schools from 19 countries registered for the competition, now in its 12th year. Articles ranged from how to make a pavlova out of penguin eggs, written by pupils at the Falkland Islands community school, to coverage of the Iraq War by Greenway school in West Sussex.
David Budge, deputy editor of The TES, last week gave the judge's report to winners at a House of Commons ceremony. "Some articles were good enough to be used in top-flight magazines, and some of the designs make local newspapers look amateurish," he said.
"However, the articles that the judges appreciated most were probably those that were obviously written by children. They did not have the polish of some of the older students' work but were full of life and fun. They made us laugh out loud, which daily newspapers rarely do."
Yarm primary in Stockton-on-Tees scooped first prize for the key stage 12 category. A team of 25 nine to 11-year olds were selected by interview to produce The Daily Squint, a 30-page tabloid.
Eskdale school in Whitby won the key stage 3 category with a colour tabloid called The Endeavour, and West View primary in Hartlepool was named best newcomer with its West View Herald. The English International College in Marbella won prizes for the best website and best international contribution with The First Bell.
Sponsors RM and Macromedia provided prizes of Tablet PCs, digital cameras and software vouchers worth pound;2,000.