Young Reporters – The Columns, The People, The Crazy

I have been a part of the Young Reporters programme for five years now, firstly as a Young Reporter and then later as a Young Reporter Peer Mentor. This is my second to last article for the scheme and I wanted to use this to take you behind the scenes of Young Reporters to show you the work that goes on to get the columns to publication, and some of the crazier moments too.

The structure of Young Reporters is that each of the groups meets fortnightly for roughly four months and in that time will have three articles published (though some of us have ended up sticking around as mentors and writing quite a few more, I am firmly included in that). The purpose of those meetings is that typically two articles will be read and discussed so that they have peer edited to ensure they are perfect to be sent to the Grimsby Telegraph and published. The other part of the meeting is discussing two ideas for future columns and discussing the angles, research that could be done and any opinions about the topic for the article. There can also be additional parts to meetings to give different opportunities and experiences but that is the main idea.

While that is the formal idea of the meeting explained, what is arguably more important is the personalities in the room and the brilliant atmosphere that they create. As I am sure that you are aware through reading this column, there has been a wide range of different topics that have been written about, from Brexit to Body Image, and Sport to Science. Despite this incredible range, I can guarantee that the discussions in the room at the meeting have been at least triple this number. Anyone that has been a Young Reporter will tell you about the random tangents that discussions can go on, ranging from the very serious to the very humourous. A couple of examples that I will always remember of strange changes of topics of conversation in a matter of minutes is a topic about the political situation in North Korea to Spa massages. The other was a conversation about GCSE Physics exams to how cost effective a Pizza Oven would be.

As the examples I’ve mentioned hopefully serve to prove, I defy anyone to be a Young Reporter and not be able to say that they didn’t augh at least once during a meeting, and that they did not enjoy their time as a Young Reporter.

On a personal note, Young Reporters has had a huge effect on my life, even if I am “a part of the furniture” by this point. I cannot say how great and supportive all of the staff past and present have been, it’s been absolutely huge. I have gained so much more confidence, learnt about subjects I knew nothing about, and had opportunities to be involved in other associated groups, such as Youth Action which have made my life even better and along with this scheme and gave me a plethora of great skills and experiences.

In line with all of this, if you enjoy English at school, or are passionate about a topic, or just want to meet new people and gain new skills (or have something good to go on your CV), then I highly encourage you to apply to this scheme. If you are between 12 and 19, and would be interested in this fabulous opportunity, please contact jenny@vanel.org.uk for any further information or an application form. If you know any friends or relatives who may be interested in this, I urge you to pass this information on – it might just be exactly what they are looking for.

The final point to make is just a thank you to all the Staff and Young Reporters who make this scheme one of the best. I may have one article still to write but I wanted to use that to show using what I have learned from this scheme when newly at university. Finally, I have laughed, smiled and enjoyed myself beyond words and when I move away I am going to miss Young Reporters dearly.

Article by Young Reporter Andrew Hill
Appeared in Grimsby Telegraph 10th September 2019