Sophia Lau

"We were doing this magazine to reach out to more students, to give them the latest updates." - Sophia Lau, on producing the RMIT magazine, CHASE.
Discover SIM GE Sophia Lau browsing through the professionally-done lifestyle magazine ONE ENCOUNTER with Amantha Koh, 22 and Sophia Lau, 23, and you would be greeted by their warm, bubbly personality. The two final-year students in RMIT University’s Bachelor of Business (Marketing) programme have just published a lifestyle magazine after an intense period of preparation, finding sponsors, writing, photography, page design and final artwork. “I’m always looking out to challenge myself,” says Sophia as Editor-in-Chief of CHASE, which covers food, travel, clothes, student events and other lifestyle themes. She led a team of 10 students who managed the entire production process. “We completed the magazine in two months… from scratch!” Sophia says, recalling the tremendous pressure that the editorial team faced given the short period from February to printing in the first week of April. On top of the pressing deadline, Sophia had to complete four school assignments, give tuition classes, and attend to her church commitments. Amazingly, she got the magazine out on time while also accumulating distinctions in 14 study modules (3 modules were high distinctions)! During the magazine’s launch on April 9, a fashion runway show was held to present clothes from Harley Davidson and G2000. These brands were some of the many sponsors for the magazine. Other notable sponsors include Philosophy and Asiawide Print Holdings. “The reason we were doing this magazine was to reach out to more students, to give them the latest updates, e.g. the Student Involvement Centre, and the Flight by Night shuttle service recently launched “It was a crazy period. In the final stretch to the magazine’s production, I slept over at Amantha’s place for six days,” says Sophia, describing the last-minute production sprint in which she and Amantha (as Creative Director) put together the pages. The hectic period even included one day learning Adobe InDesign publishing software, a heavyweight professional program that usually requires weeks to master. “We slept only two to three hours in the six days that we prepared and put the magazine to bed!” Sophia exclaims. (In journalism jargon, putting the publication to bed refers to sending the final FA sheets for printing.) “Amantha was my pillar of support. We have been team mates for assignments and other activities since Day 1 at SIM, and later as student council partners. And guess what? We’ll be graduating together as well.” Amantha (left) and Sophia going through their magazine hot off the press The future looks bright for Sophia. She completed an internship programme at advertising company Universal McCann She says she enjoys dealing with kids in the field of education and hopes to pursue it in the future, but not now. “I feel now is not the time in my life for me to settle on something I’m comfortable. Like I said before, I would like to try new things - to challenge myself.” She is planning a career in either advertising and publication or marketing. As for Amantha, she wants to go into Public Relations after graduation. “I enjoy working with people, and PR is where I can network with lots of people,” she says. - Story by Illias Mohd Iqbal, student, RMIT Bachelor of Business Management, posted online August 2013 Designing and producing a lifestyle magazine Here’re some tips from Sophia’s and Amantha’s learning experience in successfully producing a magazine: What do guys want? Decide on a theme. Who are your readers and what do they want to read? Conduct an audience research. The worst possible thing you could do is to print a beautiful magazine that no one wants to read! Assemble a team that include individuals who are good in creative and design work, who can visit sponsors for funds and advertising, and who know how to liaise with the printer over cost, paper type and size, and number of copies. CHASE magazine, there are two versions - a print magazine of 60 copies costing $21 per copy; and the online flip book version. Learn professional publishing software, such as InDesign. For printing which involves colour separation, you can’t use routine office software to lay out the pages. Go find sponsors. Print publishing is expensive. In all titles, the cover price or subscription alone is not enough to pay even for the paper, much less the salaries of the editorial and production team. Posted online, 24 August 2018