More than 1,500 pupils from schools across Courier Country have entered our Junior Journalist competition not just to try to win £3,000 for their school but to improve their reading and writing skills.
Now they’re working on their ideas and designs to create a winning front page set 200 years from now.
Primary 3a at Ballumbie in Dundee were among the first to enter the contest and give us a sneak preview of some of their designs.
Ava Means was keen to enter because the class has been learning about Dundee’s jute, jam and journalism. She is keen to produce a hologram front page for her design.
Ryan Weir also reckons an interactive front page would grab readers’ attention while Kevin Risk is working on catchy headlines and Joy Burnett is focusing on lots of details to give readers something to get their teeth into.
Good quotes and lots of descriptive information also came high on the list of ingredients for an eye-catching front page.
The class of 26 is enjoying the workbooks The Courier sent out to them and agree the step-by-step activities are helping them to find out just how a newspaper is put together as well as inspiring them with lots of ideas.
The pupils, who have also set up their own “radio station” in the classroom for live reporting, are all up on their current affairs.
As well as reading the paper (The Courier, of course), they also watch the news online and on TV.
Class teacher Jodi Barclay says: “The pupils are really throwing themselves into the competition and using their imaginations. One of our ideas is to have a look at what the V&A might be like, and write an article on its success and how it affected Dundee.
“We have used the headlines in the Courier booklet and the Spaceman headline has thrown up ideas of exploring new planets for a place to live and of aliens that live on Earth.
“We plan on submitting six front pages so there will be a variety of stories.”
Working on the fronts has inspired every single member of the class to want to be a journalist although it seems the pupils are well aware of the ups and downs of the profession.
Fearne Dunn says: “It would be interesting to find out new things”, while Emma Turton adds: “You would get to travel to new places and meet new people.”
Blossom Chinyama chips in: “It would be fun to get your story in the front page.”
However, Kyle Milligan observes: “It might not always be possible to find the truth and people might lie to you” and Kevin Risk adds: “People might not like what you’ve written about them.”
The last word goes to Jacob Robertson, who speaks for the rest of the class when he says: “We’re really excited about entering the competition and we really want to win it!”
Meanwhile, at Forthill Primary in Broughty Ferry the P6mc class are also raring to make news.
“I love writing, it’s always been my thing and it’s right up my street” enthuses Lorna Robertson while Bea Nicoll says: “I think it will be cool to make things up about the future.”
The Courier workbooks have been inspiring the pupils.
Chloe Lord said: “It’s a great chance to see how a newspaper is formed and to find out what a journalist’s life is like” and Qiaochu Zhang adds: “I like writing newspaper articles.”
With their eyes on the top prize of £3,000, their futuristic front page ideas, set in 2216, include robot slaves attacking their owners, finding out if witches are real, an alien found in someone’s back garden, robots taking over Belgium and a new virus passed on by aliens.
Youngsters’ tips for creating top stories are using interesting pictures, bold writing, bright colours, headlines that catch people’s eyes, and including information to attract younger readers.
Class teacher Gillian McIrvine says: “I asked the children about what they would spend the prize money on if they won. Their suggestions were more computers, Xbox One, iPads or other hand-held technology, laptops, a new photocopier and/or a 3D printer.
“As for me, I am finding the children are really motivated by the whole idea of entering the competition. They are thoroughly enjoying using the workbooks as an aid for their final task.
“The regular delivery of newspapers has encouraged the children to be more aware of what is happening locally, nationally and internationally and they have enjoyed looking at different aspects of the newspaper in more detail.”
The last date for submissions is April 25 so there is still plenty of time to come up with ideas.