Green for go: Young Reporters Scotland is now open for entries

Lisa McGregor and Ben Finnie, now former pupils of Grove Academy in Broughty Ferry, on location in 2013. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach, New Wave Images UK

It’s an annual contest which allows young people to combine two passions: environmental issues close to their heart, and an interest in the media.

Young Reporters Scotland is a nationwide event which encourages people aged 11-21 to focus on green affairs in their communities – whether celebrating success or raising awareness of a problem.

Run by the environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful, it gives young people the opportunity to have their voices heard, gain skills and experience, and the best reports are awarded prizes at a national awards ceremony.

Entrants are encouraged to be as creative as possible – reports can be in the form of written articles or blogs, photographs or videos.

The competition is free to enter and is judged in three age categories: 11-14, 15-18, and 19-21. The closing date for this year’s competition is February 28.

Young Reporters Scotland is part of an international programme which is co-ordinated by the Foundation for Environmental Education and currently runs in 29 countries.

All entrants receive 500 Young Scot points in addition to valuable experience for a personal statement or CV.

Katie Murray is community project co-ordinator at Keep Scotland Beautiful with responsibility for the programme.

She said there were a number of incentives for young people to pitch themselves against their peers. “Young Reporters Scotland is a fantastic opportunity for 11-21-year-olds to have their say on environmental issues that matter to them.

“It encourages young people to engage with issues affecting their communities, and provides a platform for them to share their opinions and ideas.

“This year we have some exciting prizes on offer, including experiences and a Go-Pro, to reward the efforts of young people taking action and making their voices heard.”

Positively Scottish will be publishing the winning entries, and our editorial team will host a journalism masterclass for the winners.

Mind you, judging by previous years, some entrants are already well on their way to the top in the media!

Despite being in the youngest age group, 11-14, Coll McCail from Biggar High School wasn’t afraid to ask politicians tough questions on the big issue of the day in 2016.

He went straight for the biggest political hot potato of them all: fracking. And the subsequent film he wrote and produced, To Frack Or Not To Frack, won him first prize in his category.

Coll with his award presented by Nathan Roberts from Five Sisters Zoo

Coll with his award presented by Nathan Roberts from Five Sisters Zoo

Judges were impressed with his creative media skills and grasp of a subject on which the Scottish Government has now launched a public consultation. Expertly edited and crafted, his video contained interviews with South of Scotland Labour MSP Claudia Beamish and Green party candidate Sarah Beattie Smith.

As Coll said in his film: “I set out to make a film on what Scotland’s political parties had to say about fracking. And whether we should be looking to renewables in an age when we have seen a rooftop revolution in solar panels.”

He said of the competition: “Young Reporters Scotland was a fantastic experience and gave young people an opportunity to share their views with others their age and with the wider world. I, for example, found an audience to show my video to.”

Watch it here:

More praise for the event came from Iona McCormick (below), from Stirling High School, last year’s winner in the 15-18 category, who said: “I have really enjoyed taking part in the Young Reporters Scotland competition as I have gained so many new skills. The awards ceremony was not too formal which made it less daunting and more exciting.”

iona

Daniel Speirs (below), from Paisley, winner in the 19-21 group, aadded: “Young Reporters Scotland helped me achieve my passion of being able to report on the beauty of our local environment and the threat from human activity.

daniel

“It was extremely rewarding in allowing me to experiment with a wide range of journalistic techniques. I also learned a tremendous amount from the other entries in the competition, all of which were to an extremely high standard.”

More information can be found here

Young people can register online here and will receive a guide to taking part

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