Joining Young Reporters was the 'write' thing to do
BY Lois Perry
WHEN I found out about Young Reporter in the Telegraph, through an English lesson at school, I was so excited – I'd always been a fan of writing, especially creatively, and it felt as though the opportunity could not have come at a better time for me.
There was only a little time left before the deadline, so I quickly filled in and posted my application form. A couple of weeks later I received an email telling me that I'd been picked as one of five young reporters, and as well as being completely over the moon, I was also extremely nervous because I didn't know what to expect. One of the most special things, though, was that I was in the first ever group of young reporters – so even though we were being 'guinea pigs' for the whole idea, it was really quite exciting!
We met at the town hall a few days later and, despite being the youngest of the group, everyone was so lovely and the whole thing was a lot more informal than I thought which was quite a relief.
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Once we'd organised things, our group met weekly to write and discuss our articles. When the first piece I wrote was passed around so that everyone could discuss it, I felt as though what I'd written was really bad and I was worried what everyone would think. But the advice everyone gave really helped and I've learnt that sharing my work can really help to improve it. When you're writing, you often don't notice spelling mistakes or sentences that don't make sense, but when other people read this they can help improve this.
I really looked forward to the weekly sessions – we often had discussions about topics to write, and to brainstorm ideas, which was very interesting. It also led to lots more opportunities, such as interviewing important people, and in some cases being interviewed ourselves. The group was really friendly and we began to build a real trust between each other, and even though the experience was real and serious, it was also fun and entertaining.
The topics we wrote about were varied. Mine were about the cost of university, smoking, and public transport. Some of the others were about holidays, body image and crime. Even though we had to challenge the negative stereotype in each article, there was still a lot of freedom with what to write about.
Something quite fun about the experience was that I began to get noticed – one of my dinner ladies complimented me on my articles and told me that she always read them. My friends and family always bought the paper when I was in it and I've kept all the newspaper clippings. Since my school stopped offering work experience, I can use the articles as proof in my CV and it'll be useful if I ever go into journalism in the future.
I learnt a lot about writing during my time in the Young Reporters, and really improved my skills. I made new friends and met interesting people, and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who's interested in writing, reporting, or just fancies trying something new.
Ben Staff, a Young Reporter, said: "I was inspired to apply to be a young reporter because I thought it would be a good experience. I feel that I have already learned a lot about myself, my writing style and how to interest an audience. Our weekly meetings made me feel more confident to express my views with others. It is liberating.
"We all love the chance to write about the things we think are important rather than adults making all of the decisions. The comments on our columns show that they have started people thinking about the topics we raise, my parents have even started to understand how I think more."
Young people of all abilities are welcome to apply if they have a commitment and passion to write about things they think are important for young people. If you would like to try this email email@example.com or phone YPSS on 01472 323298. Closing date for applications is September 17.