For those of you who did the last mentoring sessions you will already have been given these ideas but for those of you haven’t, here are some thoughts about writing up your final articles.
Local restaurants/coffee shops
In every high street, there will be local restaurants and coffee shops who have struggled during lockdown. These businesses have had to re-think their whole way of trading. This is an ideal opportunity for you to contact them and write up an article about how the pandemic has affected them.
They will be happy to talk to you because it will give them free publicity and you may have a hand in driving people to them, thereby increasing their profits. It is also a good way to look at what is happening on your local high street. So often people eat out or order in from the same restaurants time and time again, so why not encourage them to go out of their comfort zones and try something new and different.
The pandemic has increased the number of people offering online classes. They range from yoga, Pilates, cookery, art, languages and many more. Some of the health classes like yoga have struggled because unlike being in a hall or classroom environment, they have had to adapt quite a lot to run them online. It has also had a huge impact on the number of people they have lost from their classes as some people are not comfortable using technology and others didn’t like the idea of doing a class on a laptop. These people will be delighted to speak with you especially as a lot of them are going to continue doing this through meeting platforms as they consider a possibly uncertain future.
There are literally hundreds of business who have floundered during the pandemic and maybe someone you know is struggling. Why not give them a boost and write about what they do to promote them and let people know they are there.
You may have family members who have taken up a new hobby during lockdown. Started running, skipping, swimming, anything to keep fit and stay motivated. Have a chat with them, ask them what their motivation is behind this new or maybe existing hobby. They may have taken up something that they have never done before like painting, photography, fishing, etc.
People who live in your area
Speak to local people in your area who may have an interesting story to tell, especially the older generation who may have known hardships and life changes during their own lives.
Speak to a local charity. Don’t go for the large ones, they have plenty of publicity as it is. Look at some of the small ones who are really struggling during these times. The mental health and animal charities are overwhelmed at the moment and they are certainly a good one to start with if there is one local to you.
There are a lot of street markets opening up again this month and something you can cover. These are full of interesting people and a lot of colour amongst the stalls, so a great one to photograph.
Speak to a teacher and find out how lockdown in schools has affected them. Get their views on online teaching. Find out how successful or unsuccessful they feel it has been. Ask them about the restrictions they have had to work around, what they have done to combat the stresses of students struggling to cope with lack of peer camaraderie.
Every year we get hundreds of photographs that will never make the grade because they are out of focus. Some of them have been brilliant photographs that could have won but the photo quality was just too poor to put into the magazine. If you like photography or are studying photography at school, use this last month to take some excellent photographs and write up an article attached to them. Over the years, some of the wildlife photography we have received, has been outstanding so if photography is your passion, get out there and start snapping.
A final note
Every year, students lose momentum at the end of the scheme and forget to do the final article. Make sure that is not you. Having worked with me for all these months, I don’t want to see you fail at the last hurdle.
Good luck and I hope to see you at the finishing post!