Aspiring young reporters demonstrated their talent for finding news stories when they entered a journalism competition.
They impressed the judges with a range of stories covering topics such as bad parking; the scourge of empty shops; glory-hunting football fans and the effect the closure of a fitness centre had on its members.
Pupils from schools and colleges across North Staffordshire and South Cheshire entered the competition which was organised by Staffordshire University’s journalism team in conjunction with The Sentinel.
The finalists were invited to an awards ceremony held at the university’s new lecture hall where they were presented with their prizes.
TV broadcaster and former Staffordshire student Genelle Aldred handed out the awards. Genelle. who has previously broadcast the weather on Midlands Today but now works for ITN, said: “The awards are a really good idea and it is nice to see the entrants writing about the issues close to where they live and what is happening around them.”
The prize winners were Madison Eve Woodward, aged 11, of Langdale Primary School, Clayton who wrote about drivers parking on yellow lines and the pavements near her school, while her classmate Anna Wileman, aged 11, was runner up with her story about how empty shops are blighting Newcastle town centre.
In the secondary school category, the runner up was Tom Jones, aged 15, of Clough Hall Technology School, who wrote a piece about footballer fans who shunned their local teams to support bigger premier league clubs.
The winner of this category was Isabelle Slee of Newcastle-under-Lyme School for her story which chartered the closure of Total Fitness health club and the impact it had on those who used the gym.
Staffordshire University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Gunn addressed the ceremony saying: “We value you becoming journalists and building upon that natural talent, aptitude and desire.
“If this is an area you choose to pursue then there is a necessity for you to formalise that and gain an understanding of what message to get across, how best to do that and some of the pitfalls you might encounter.”