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First News School Newspaper of the Year Awards: Publishing has a bright future

First News, the widest-read children’s publication in the UK with a weekly readership of 2.2M 7-14-year-old’s, has announced the winners of the First News School Newspaper of the Year Awards 2019-2020.

The title, launched in 2006 at the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s residence in Downing Street, is part of the school day in primary and secondary schools across the UK with almost half of all schools subscribing to the newspaper and its accompanying educational resources.

For this year’s awards, young people were invited to become the voices of their generation by writing, editing, and fully producing an entire newspaper. The task was made infinitely more challenging by the COVID-19 lockdown which required entrants to collaborate using Zoom, Skype, and phone.

Nicky Cox MBE, Editor in Chief said, “We have received thousands of entries from all corners of the United Kingdom and have read them all with much interest. These future editors, investigative journalists and storytellers have once again raised the bar and kept all of the judges fully informed on
the issues that matter most to them; often making us laugh, certainly think and sometimes cry.

“It’s been quite incredible to see children come together during lockdown and create such accomplished newspapers.”

The prize for Primary School Newspaper of the Year went to The Galahad Gazette, produced by Faldingworth Community Primary School Year 6’s, Lincolnshire. The newspaper attempted to balance school news, local community news and global issues mixed with interesting facts, amusing incidents, puzzles, and reviews. When the pupils returned to their school in June, they printed their newspaper and delivered it to all the homes in their village.

Children from Faldingworth Community Primary School, Lincolnshire

The prize for Secondary School Newspaper went to The Granham Gazette from St John’s Marlborough, Wiltshire. Year 10 students launched The Granham Gazette to create unity within the school population while everyone was learning remotely. Their aim was to balance a mix of serious, global stories with some local interest stories and humorous articles.

Editorial team member Jude explained, “The Granham Gazette was formed at a moment of crisis – without the school closure and enforced remote learning, there would probably not have been the opportunity to start a
newspaper. Our production in a digital format enables us to reach the maximum number of students at the click of a button. It also allows us to track the number of readers and see their response patterns which can
help to see which issues are popular. We are excited about learning new skills to communicate in a digital way.”

Editorial Team Of The Year went to The Buzz, produced by children from Bessemer Grange Primary, London. A full colour, 20-page newspaper, the title was written, edited, designed and safely delivered by the school pupils during lockdown.

The award for Home News Reporter went to Raaghav Das, the Editor of Chronologie. An e-newspaper that has gone on to produce 4 issues, Chronologie was inspired by the unprecedented situation that the world was faced with COVID-19 and the judges were impressed with the standard of journalism written by a thirteen-year-old.

Raaghav, Chronologie

The Innovative News Project prize went to Buzz TV’s Newsround, created by children from Burnt Oak Primary School, Kent. Coming off the back of their Buzz newspaper written by their journalism club, the children took it a step further with their own TV channel.

Burnt Oak Primary School, Kent (Buzz TV)

Runners up accolades went to Troup Scoup, Troup House School, Aberdeenshire; Stretford Chronicle, Stretford High School, Manchester; Far End News; and Alex Press, aged ten, Surrey.

For other schools looking to get involved, First News has produced a School Newspaper Club pack which provides a guide for children and schools looking to start a student-led school newspaper. More details can be found here.

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