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Daily devotes page to students’ stories as lockdown hits work experience

A regional daily devoted a full page to stories written by journalism students in a bid to help those missing out on work experience due to the coronavirus crisis.

With the current situation prohibiting office placements, Yorkshire Post sports editor Nick Westby launched a call for students to get in touch with story ideas in order to give them the chance to get their byline in print.

Nick asked interested parties to submit a 600-word article and pictures of a sporting story in Yorkshire that the newspaper might have missed, with the intention of running one submission a week during lockdown.

The first three stories to appear were by University of Central Lancashire student Owen Thompson, who examined Muslim netball in Bradford, University of Leeds student Jonny Burke, who looked at the online esports phenomenon and Sheffield Hallam University student James Robinsion, who interviewed a teenage squash prospect.

YP student

Nick told HTFP: “On the combined Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post sports desk, we welcome students on journalism and sports journalism courses for a week’s work experience all the time. They come to us from the many universities in Yorkshire and beyond.

“Conscious of the fact that such a vital part of the development of student journalists, like a week’s work experience, has been cut off, we wanted to give them an opportunity to still get their bylines in newspapers.

“In all honesty, we’re still filling four broadsheet pages of sport every day, plus nine on a Saturday and six on a Monday in the Yorkshire Post, and while our sports writers are working as hard as ever and rising to this unprecedented challenge, we need a little help.

“So this was a bit of a we scratch your back, you scratch ours arrangement that benefitted both parties.”

Nick had promoted the project on Twitter and LinkedIn before receiving submissions.

He added: “Anyone can whip up a comment piece on the current predicament, but what stories are not being told of the great triumphs or sacrifices people are having to make in these sport-free times.

“The intention was to run one a week during lockdown, but we have been so taken aback by the interest in it that we ran three in the first week, a full broadcast page, and the amount of pitches we have been sent suggests we could fill pages the next two Tuesdays too.

“But we would love to receive even more and if there are any journalism or sports journalism students out there who know of a Yorkshire sports story to tell, the invitation is open to get in touch with us and we’ll consider it for publication. Just email me at nick.westby@jpimedia.co.uk.”

Joe Willis, editor of hyperlocal title Richmondshire Today, has also launched a plea for those interested in remote work experience opportunities to get in touch with him via his Twitter page, which can be found here.

You can read all our coronavirus-related stories here.