Our Young Reporter scheme celebrated its 10th anniversary by rewarding the top performers from more than 600 students who joined it in September 2017.

Every year, the scheme runs for eight months, from September to April, and students have to write one article per month, within specified deadlines.

Students have the opportunity to showcase their work on a real live news platform, while building their confidence and honing their writing skills.

Young Reporter is a tough and exciting scheme enabling students to become journalists, reporting real news about real people. What better way to broaden their horizons, take them out of their comfort zones and build their confidence as young writers, working alongside Newsquest’s own journalists.

Every year, the scheme rewards 30 winners in five different categories from breaking news, event and interview to feature articles and photographs.

These awards were handed out at a ceremony held on June 28 at our Sutton office, attended by participants from across London and Sussex.

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In addition to the main awards, there are two top reporter awards in each age group. These go to the students who have maintained a high level of writing skills across all eight articles.

Katherine Walsh, from St Philomena’s Catholic High School for Girls in Carshalton, won for the Year 12/13 group and Charlotte Henley-Castleden, from Farringtons School in Chislehurst, won for the 10/11 group.

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Katherine said: “It was a real honour to win the top reporter”.

Charlotte added: “I’ve loved every minute of it. Journalism is something I would definitely love to do.”

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India Desai, from Tolworth Girls School and Sixth Form, was the winner of the Extra Mile category, which rewards students who have managed to complete the scheme despite dealing with difficult circumstances.

She said: “The young reporter scheme not only boosted my confidence as a writer but also made me more insightful about my community and local events.”

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Running for so many years, the scheme has attracted a large cohort of students across all of Greater London, some of whom have gone on to to work in the industry.

This year for the first time, we extended the scheme into East and West Sussex schools and they endorsed the scheme wholeheartedly, producing two winners from Oriel High School in Crawley and Millais School in Horsham.

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Throughout the eight months, other opportunities are offered to the students. This year we ran a scheme where students could compete for theatre tickets. Several theatres around the Greater London area as well as Sussex were keen to get involved and offered tickets for performances.

The students not only attended the performances but some were able to meet up with the stars of the show afterwards. This gave them a real sense of being part of the paparazzi.

Egor Kaygorodov, from Hampton School, who won tickets to see Rothschild and Sons at The Park Theatre in Finsbury Park, said: “I loved the experience because this provided an amazing opportunity for me to practice my journalism skills, whilst enjoying myself at a very skilfully performed play.”

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In addition to the theatre opportunities, Simone Eligon, from Coloma School in Croydon, won the chance to interview Met Police’s deputy assistant commissioner Lucy D’Orsi about the new ACT for Youth campaign. This campaign is being run to inform young people what actions they should take in the event of a terrorist attack.

Simone said: “It was a privilege to interview such a high-ranking officer and to see the work that the Metropolitan Police do at New Scotland Yard.”

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Students and schools are invited to take part in Young Reporter again when it returns later this year.

It is a great way for young people to broaden their horizons and build their confidence as young writers.

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Rebecca Howell, careers adviser from Queensmead School in Ruislip, Middlesex, said: “The Newsquest programme has given our students the opportunity to experience some of the expectations and deadlines required for a career in journalism.

“It has also given them confidence to start developing their research and investigation skills that can help them in the future.”

For more information about the scheme, contact Diana Jarvis at djarvis@newsquest.co.uk