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Daily targets young readers with Junior Reporters Club

Aspiring young reporters have the chance to see their name in print after a regional daily relaunches its Junior Press Club – more than a decade after the scheme was closed down.

Youngsters aged between seven and 14 can put pen to paper and write about events going on around them, to be printed in a new four-page special feature in Blackpool paper The Gazette called the Junior Gazette every week.

Editor Jon Rhodes said the club, which stopped 15 years ago, would be a good way to introduce young people to their local newspaper.

“It’s an obvious point, but all news organisations need to reach new readers and listeners. And what better way to introduce youngsters to their local newspaper than giving them the chance to write for it?” he told HTFP.

“Many schools, both primary and secondary, do projects on the media and end up having their work displayed in school. We thought we could go one better.

“Each week we are going to produce four extra pages which will feature the Junior Reporters and their stories, blogs etc.”

As well as the writers’ club, he said, staff would be visiting local schools to give talks about newspapers and journalism, and giving tips on how to write news stories.

“The interest from young writers, their parents and schools has been great to see,” he added.

The front page of the new Junior Gazette

Jon said he had been inspired to go into the industry after managing to get a few pieces into his local paper as a youngster, after badgering the editors and sending in his stories.

“I clearly remember the first story I ever got published in my local newspaper. It was five lines about a police dog visiting a school,” he said.

“Twenty five years on I still recall the buzz I felt when I saw my report (titled ‘It’s a Fur Cop’) in print.

“It sparked an interest in writing which has stayed with me. I still proudly have that first cutting – so does my mum!

“After a couple of years of getting my work published, with everything from school sport to pro football, I got my break and became a trainee at the Chester Evening Leader.”

Young Reporters will receive a Junior Reporter’s Press Card and will be able to write 200 to 300-word pieces on anything from local news, holiday reviews, and sport reports.

Anyone interested in joining or finding out more can visit the Gazette website.