The Sleaford Standard’s News Editor Andy Hubbert was invited in to talk to aspiring young journalists about his experiences for BBC News School Report Day today (Thursday).
The annual event sees pupils from schools across the country exercising their news senses to sniff out stories to submit to the BBC’s dedicated website and to appear on their own school websites.
A combined news team of girls from Kesteven and Sleaford High School and boys from Carre’s Grammar School invited The Standard’s Andy Hubbert in to give them tips on story writing and share with them how he got into journalism - the highs and lows and the changing nature of the business.
Andy said: “It was great to see the girls and boys getting stuck into writing their own reports. They seemed really confident in their interview skills and it was nice to give them a few pointers on polishing up their news-writing style.
“The pupils wanted to know what the most difficult aspects of the job were, my biggest story and about the ever-growing emphasis on news websites and social media to break and develop a story.”
Astrid Natley, a teacher who leads the Girls’ News Team at the High School, said: “We have had four practice days leading up to this, the last two with the Carre’s boys.”
She said the news teams were researching different story angles around the theme of ‘happiness’. Older students then edited the work ready to be uploaded onto the website.
The cub reporters looked at concepts such as ‘what is happiness?’ ‘does money make you happy?’ and even did a survey generating a formula for happiness.
Headteacher of Carre’s, Nick Law did not escape the power of the press, being put on the spot for some answers by a pack of newshounds.
Year 8 High School students Eloise Brown, 13, and Alice Booth, 12, decided to research the results of a survey in which Denmark had come out on top as the happiest country in the world, based on a number of factors. Eloise said: “We also expanded it to find the happiest man in the world.”
Carre’s Year 10 student Eric Flynn, 15, said: “I have looked at how people listen to music and how they perform music and whether that brings them enjoyment or produces a more reflective mood.”
This was his second year of being involved in ‘school report’ and he believed he was enjoying producing better quality work this time. He said: “We did a small poll of pupils and teachers, asking them how many hours of music they listen to or perform. They then described on a scale how happy it makes them feel.”
He said grown ups tended to listen to more music on their way to and from work: “The teachers maybe listen to more classical music and things that take them back to their younger days, triggering memories or feelings.”
Tadhg Camm, 14, from year 10 at Carre’s said: “It is a lot of fun and I enjoy this format of writing stories more than analysing passages in lessons. It is good to find a story or record an interview and know it is your work.”
A team of Key Stage Three journalists from St George’s Academy’s Sleaford and Ruskington campuses were working all day for BBC News School Report Day too.
Student Molly Hawksworth said: “We were featured on the BBC Website this morning and they said they were very interested in what we were doing. We have reported on national news stories, local events and academy news.”
The pupils produced features, sports and entertainment reviews.
Molly said: “Students were filmed reporting the news in our TV studio and this is being uploaded to the BBC website and academy website at the end of the day. We are also being featured on Radio Lincolnshire.”