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Teenagers invited to write for Ham&High’s Young Readers’ Edition

Danny Wittenberg is calling for submissions from other budding writers and journalists. Picture: Polly Hancock. Danny Wittenberg is calling for submissions from other budding writers and journalists. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Thursday, November 21, 2013
10:00 AM

Daniel Wittenberg, 16-year-old editor of the Ham&High’s next Young Readers’ Edition, issues a call to other young writers to get involved

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Mainstream journalism, it would be fair to say, is stuck in something of a mosh pit. Often struggling to move forwards but unable to go back, it’s like Christmas at Camden Market in here. That’s why we think it deserves another makeover, David Bowie-style.

It is our aim to give the next generation of writers, roving reporters and community activists a voice in their local newspaper and a platform to do good for their neighbourhood, by publishing a special supplement written totally for teenagers, by teenagers.

Following on from our successful launch edition in May this year, we are again encouraging the youth of north London to write freely about the issues that matter to them most, at a time when our views are so often left unheard. Which is always a shame.

We recognise the media as a crucial means of communication – particularly owing to our extensive use of social networks – but young people have so far been unable to embrace its power as a societal mouthpiece and the cement that binds our communities.

Times change, however, and all indications show that the years will be kind to newspapers – or at least their online allies. In recent decades, so I am told, journalism has transformed from a one-sided current affairs lecture to a constant game of ping-pong between readers and writers, helped by the audience’s willingness to help shape the debate.

Yet this has largely been reserved for adults until now, inexplicably so. In a world where anyone with a camera, a keyboard or a smartphone can lay claim to being a journalist (and where people can become paperboys too in the click of a ‘like’, ‘share’ or ‘re-tweet’ button), we are inviting teenagers to take up that opportunity and submit their stories.

Few would refute the fact that, at the ripe old age of 160-plus, the Ham&High has aged well. More than a third of you are estimated to be reading this article online, whilst I suspect the proportion of 11 to 18-year-olds doing so is even higher.

So, this next step seems an obvious one: handing over control of our content to a new cohort of north Londoners in the Young Readers’ Edition brings endless scope for creativity and fresh ideas. We want local secondary school students to bring their feelings to the fore, whether it concerns news and current affairs, teenage themes, culture or sport.

It may be that 21st century technology has changed journalism forever, but we understand the young people behind the screens are those who will shape its future.

Email us or join us on www.facebook.com/HamHighYRE for more details on the Ham&High Young Readers’ Edition, due for publication in January. The suggested topics for entry are:

2013 year in review – film, music, sport or general interest; what makes me stand out from the crowd; my local picture – art or photography; my interview with a totally famous local; an open letter to someone totally important; in my opinion… (get it off your chest!); I really hate it when… (or #NorthLondonProblems); how to be a teenager – in the 21st century or north London; north London’s best kept secrets; when I grow up… (my ambitions and passions).

Please send your submissions to youngreaders@hamhigh.co.uk by January 7, 2014.

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