Stoke-on-Trent MP Ruth Smeeth helped launch the Future Journalist Competition at Staffordshire University today (December 3).
The Future Journalist Awards 2019 were opened to schools and colleges across the Potteries to encourage the next generation of journalists in and around Staffordshire.
Designed by students on Staffordshire University’s journalism and PR courses, the competition is bigger and better than ever with this year’s focus on digital skills required by modern journalists.
Following the success of last year’s competition pupils between school years three to 13 can get involved by creating a video or article on any topic they choose.
The winners in each category will receive a £50 Amazon voucher as well as being invited to take part in a Newsday Experience in the Staffordshire University Broadcast Newsroom.
Ms Smeeth, MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, opened the competition and spoke exclusively to StaffsLive, giving her words of wisdom to the budding future journalist contestants.
Ms Smeeth said: “This is an opportunity for young people to apply themselves at journalism to see whether it is something for them.
“I think it’s incredible to make sure that everyone of all ages has an understanding of how tough it can be to be a journalist but also what the skills and ethics are behind journalism to give them a little taster.”
With a more digital angle this year, candidates are encouraged to make a video that, based on their age, can be anything up to one minute and 30 seconds long.
“The world has changed hugely in the last two decades in the terms of media and tech platforms. Everything is changing around us,” said Ms Smeeth.
“Having the base skills, the journalism-based skills are really important, so you can continue to evolve and develop your trades.
“It makes sure young people have both the skills they can use going forward and that they understand journalism is hard.”
Danielle Booker, lecturer on the PR Campaigning module at Staffordshire University and a PR Consultant, said: “I think it is just a great experience, especially the fact this year you can take part in lots of different ways.
“The candidates can pick any topic, something they are passionate about.
“This year you don’t have to just write about it.
“You can take videos, write a blog and add pictures so I think, more than ever this year, it is about everybody’s passions but also, I hope we are getting some future journalists from it as well.
“My advice would be it is easier if you are writing about something you are interested in.
“Pick a subject close to your heart you feel you can write lots about or you can easily talk about and plan it out.”
The Future Journalism Award deadline for submissions is February 15, 2019.
For more details, including how to submit your entries, visit http://blogs.staffs.ac.uk/futurejournalist/