7th December 2009, 4:33pm
Schools' young journalists make the headlines
Pupils from South Axholme Community School were named Best Newspaper Team Budding young journalists picked up an array of honours as the University of Lincoln celebrated the successes of its pioneering School Newspaper Project.

The project, launched in April this year, saw a team of university academics, students and volunteers head out into Lincolnshire primary and secondary schools to give youngsters the opportunity to produce their very own full-colour school newspaper.

In total 14 schools – ranging from large suburban comprehensives to small village primaries - signed up for the free workshops run by the University’s Lincoln School of Journalism.

Pupils were responsible for sourcing, researching and writing all articles, as well as photography and design, under the guidance of the University's experts and volunteers, which included reporters from regional newspapers.

The children also learned about the role of newspapers in society, news values, media ethics and the basics of news reporting and photography.

The 'news roadshows' culminated in the production of a full-colour tabloid style school newspaper. Thanks to the support of publishing company Mortons of Horncastle, copies were then printed for all pupils, parents and staff. Across all 14 schools more than 20,000 individual newspapers were printed.

Tim Greenfield, journalism lecturer at the University of Lincoln, said he and his team were amazed by some of the stories the pupils came up with.

"There was never any shortage of great ideas and we never had any problems filling the pages. In fact, some of the stories were so good they were picked up by the local media on several occasions," said Mr Greenfield.
"It was great to celebrate the achievements of the pupils with an awards ceremony, and all of the schools want to repeat the news days again. We are looking forward to working with them again and hope many new schools will be interested in taking part in the project."

Last week pupils and teachers who took part in the School Newspaper Project attended the University of Lincoln for an awards ceremony which celebrated their work.

Honours in a dozen different categories were presented to the pupils by Professor David Sleight, Dean of the University's Faculty of Media, Humanities and Technology, Professor John Tulloch, Head of the Lincoln School of Journalism, and Jon Grubb, Editor of the Lincolnshire Echo, the city's award-winning daily newspaper.

Professor Tulloch said: "The aim of this project was to raise awareness of journalism and to encourage school students to regard newspapers as a little more important than they hitherto had done. We wanted to really convince them that journalism might be a career worth considering. Of course, we also hoped to find some journalistic talent in Lincolnshire.
"We have been absolutely delighted with the School Newspaper Project and we hope to continue it indefinitely. Already a number of schools who have taken part have indicated they want to do it again and several more want to sign up."
Jeremy Newnham, head teacher at Caistor Yarborough School, which claimed the coveted award of Best Newspaper, said his students had been inspired by the experience – and even surprised him with their newsgathering instincts.

"It was quite challenging for the school staff – the pupils really did chase down their stories!" he said. "It was wonderful to have an outcome that we could share with the whole community. We have had a lot of positive feedback from the town council, parents and governors.
"The quality of the work the children produced was incredible. I didn't realise when they started the project that we would end up this fabulous newspaper. I think it has inspired the kids to think about career possibilities and perhaps raised their own expectations of themselves, seeing what they can produce as both individuals and as a team."

The School Newspaper Project award winners were:

Best News Story Winner – Caistor Yarborough School.
Best Sports Story Winner – Healing Primary School.
Best Entertainment Article Winner – North Axholme School
Best News Section Winner – Gainsborough Parish Primary School
Best Sports Section Winner – William Farr CofE Comprehensive School
Best Entertainment Section Winner – North Axholme School
Best Photo Winner – Saltfleetby Primary School
Best Front Page Story Winner – Saltfleetby Primary School
Best Editor Winner – De Aston School
Most Outstanding Young Journalist Winner – South Axholme Community School
Best Newspaper Team Winner – South Axholme Community School
Best Newspaper Winner – Caistor Yarborough School
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