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Success for budding writers in 2020 Young Reporters award

Another successful Young Reporter Scheme has just ended for the twelfth year running. Hundreds of students across the Greater London area were involved and twenty-eight finalists made it across the finishing line to secure prizes and become our best young journalists for 2020.

Nicholas James, Top Reporter Years 10/11

Nicholas James, Top Reporter from the Year 10/11 age group at Wilson’s School, said: “For anyone who likes writing, the Young Reporter Scheme is an invaluable experience that will not only improve your skills, but open up a wide range of other exciting opportunities. You get to meet interesting people and learn more about where you live, all while writing for a real newspaper.”

James won first place in two of the categories with his articles ‘Kenley Fly Tip’ in the Breaking News category and ‘Is this an environmental tipping point’ in the Feature category. He said that he has always been interested in protecting the environment and he felt that the best part about the Young Reporter Scheme was that he was able to report on local interests and passions.

He added: “I am not sure what career path I want to follow but I know that doing the Young Reporter Scheme will be an impressive award to put on any application.”

Tim Lissimore, Deputy Head of Wilson’s school, said: “We were delighted that so many of our students could take part in the Young Reporter scheme this year. As well as providing encouragement and helping them to grow in confidence, the scheme has really improved the quality of students’ writing and helped to inspire other journalistic initiatives within the school.”

Josh Bartholomew, Top Reporter Years 12/13

Josh Bartholomew secured the Top Reporter award in the 12/13 age group. He won first place in both the Interview category with his article about a young man who fought back from severe mental health through football and the Feature category with his article about the England cricket team’s supporter group, the Barmy Army.

Bartholomew said: “The Young Reporter scheme has been absolutely invaluable in my development as a writer. I really feel like my writing has progressed significantly, and my organisational skills have certainly improved too!

“Writing for deadlines is a rare but tricky challenge, and it is one that the Young Reporter scheme forces you to embrace. I also think that it is vital in amplifying local issues and giving them the attention that they may not otherwise attract.

“Personally, I wrote an interview with a local resident, Matt Legg, who’d recovered from depression and set up his own Mental Health charity. The platform that the scheme gave to this story was brilliant in helping to gain awareness for the cause.”

Bartholomew, who completed the scheme for the third year running, hopes to go into journalism after university, where he plans to study Politics. He added: “Participating in the scheme has been hugely enjoyable, thrilling and rewarding, and I would encourage anyone interested in writing, journalism or current affairs to take up the opportunity!”

Izzy Hudson, Double Award Winner

Izzy Hudson and Alyssa Gobin, both in the Year 12/13 group from Reigate College, also won double awards. Hudson won first place in the Breaking News category with her article about a bomb hoax in Banstead and third place in the Feature category with her moving article about young people’s fear for the future amidst the current pandemic.

She said: “The scheme has been a brilliant opportunity for me as I have developed my creative skills writing for a professional organisation, which is something many people do not get to experience at such a young age.

“The value this scheme will add to my CV and personal statement is unmatched by any other extra-curricular activity I have done. I have seen an improvement in my writing as I use a more sophisticated approach to formal creative tasks, thanks to my experience writing for the publication.”

Alyssa Gobin, Double Award Winner

Gobin won third place in the Event category with her article ‘Clever crafts at Harlequin fair’ and second place in the Feature category covering a story about a new gym in Redhill.

Sam Burnett, Work Experience Coordinator from Reigate College, said: “The Young Reporter Scheme has become a key part of the support we offer our aspiring journalists at Reigate College. The experience is invaluable for them in gaining an insight into the realities of a career in Journalism. The cohort this year has shown a high level of engagement and we were delighted to have three Reigate College winners in 2020. Thank you to everyone who makes this scheme possible.”

Elisa Mahmood, Double Award Winner

The final double winner was Elisa Mahmood from Ursuline High School who won second place in the Year 12/13 Breaking News category with her article ‘Buses are back’ and first place in the Photograph category with an extremely skilled photo of an overturned car in Wimbledon. Mahmood, with true professionalism, snapped the photo and then spoke to the police at the scene.

The scheme starts up again in September and this year will have more on offer. In order to fall in line with Covid-19 and the restrictions that may be placed on us during the winter months, we will now be offering full online opportunities for students to help them get the very best out of the scheme. This will involve online tutorials, which students can dip in and out of and group seminars through our online meeting platforms. These will replace the face to face meetings, should we be forced into a lockdown situation.

The scheme is an amazing opportunity for students and schools to get involved in. There is little to no school involvement, so teachers do not need to stress about adding to their already heavy work load, as students report directly into Newsquest.

Every year, our students write hundreds of articles between them and find some astonishing stories that we would not necessarily have heard about. They have complete support once they sign up and continual email back up should any queries or problems arise.

For more information about the scheme or to sign up for next year please contact

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