Budding Highgate School reporters learn tricks of trade in Ham&High office visit

Budding young journalists were given their first taste of a professional newsroom when they dropped by the Ham&High office to learn how a newspaper is made.

The tables were turned on the Ham&High’s education reporter when members of Highgate Junior School’s newspaper club grilled her for story ideas and which A-list celebrities she has interviewed.

The youngsters aged between nine and 11 made the visit on Thursday to pick up tricks of the trade to help them with the running of their termly school newspaper, The Hotspot.

Year 6 pupil Anabella Haslan, 11, of East Finchley, said: “I really wanted to know how professionals do it and what the office looked like.

“I definitely want to be a writer of some sort,” she added.

“I love writing stories, it’s really fun.”

The pupils put this reporter in the firing line with plenty of enthusiastic questions about how the team behind the Ham&High series puts together its newspapers every week.

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Questions put to her included: “does the newspaper have an app?”, “do reporters use shorthand?”, and “have you interviewed anyone from Doctor Who?”.

Nine-year-old Alex Hutchings, of Highgate, said he was “surprised” to find out that the Ham&High is not printed from its Finchley Road office.

The Year 5 pupil said: “I was expecting this big warehouse with lots of massive printing machines and computers.”

Anabella added: “It’s really interesting that the Ham&High prints newspapers in Norwich and that you have to write stories really carefully so you don’t make any mistakes.”

The school’s newspaper club has been running for about eight years for pupils in Year 5 and 6. Its newspaper, about 20 pages long, is stuffed full of book and games reviews, quizzes and puzzles.

Several pupils told their teacher how they went away from the visit with a new ambition to become a journalist when they are older.

Aspiring reporter Matthew Dodd, 11, of Muswell Hill, said: “It sounds fun, and I like to learn about the stuff that happens.

“I now know a little bit more about what I should do to be a journalist,” added the Year 6 pupil.

Form tutor Felicity Dunbar, who runs the newspaper club, said: “I think it really helped them to think about good content for a newspaper and how it can be edited and put together.”

She added: “It was really brilliant for them to think about how this can help them in their future and the things that can come from being in the newspaper club.”

Pupils were given a free copy of the Ham&High to take home.