How the project works

The award-winning Irish News Young News Readers media project for children aged 8-12 is delivered in partnership with EY & St. Mary’s, Belfast.

Once registered every school will receive an educational resource booklet to support learning throughout the eight-week project.

The booklet contains:

  • Information on the project/ timeline
  • A choice of tasks relating to each week’s theme which cover key issues and matters impacting young people.
  • Engaging weekly resources

There are a variety of tasks included in the resource booklet, these will suit a range of abilities. Please feel free to choose which tasks are best suited to your class. As well as these activities we ask schools each week to complete the Task of the Week. These are mandatory for the completion of the project and certification.

Starting March 1st, for eight weeks, a 32-page specially commissioned School Edition newspaper is edited and printed covering key issues and matters impacting young people. The newspaper will include bespoke content curated for the project and a selection of news stories taken from The Irish News editions in the previous week.

As part of the sign-up process, schools are asked to confirm their nominated newsagents and the School Edition newspaper will be delivered every Wednesday to this address. It is the school’s responsibility to collect the newspapers for the project. Every student in the class will receive a newspaper and they are encouraged to bring their paper home and discuss learning with their family.

Note: This resource booklet has been designed as a guide to support the completion of The Irish News Young News Readers Media Project. While there are many elements of the project that can support and enhance the teaching of the Northern Ireland Curriculum, it should not be used as a replacement for the literacy curriculum.

We encourage teachers to use their professional judgement to discern if certain topics may be of a sensitive nature to members of their class.

Schools have the option to access an e-paper to support trends in young people consuming news.

What schools receive

  • Resource booklet to support learning with tasks and exercises
  • Digital Resources to help teachers with classroom activities
  • One School Edition newspaper per pupil every week for 8 weeks
  • Press passes for all students taking part
  • Certificate on completion for all students
  • Opportunities for school visits
  • Competitions for resources (i.e. technology) and school trips

2023 WEEKLY
EDITORIAL THEMES

Our specially commissioned School Edition newspaper will feature news and stories relevant to issues and matters affecting young people. Each week we will pick a theme and the newspaper will feature articles and interviews with people of influence exploring these topics to raise awareness and a platform for discussion.

For the first week of the Media Project, pupils will be introduced to the world of newspapers and the importance they have in their local community and across the world. Pupils will be encouraged to take part in class discussions to develop their knowledge of the production of newspapers and the role of newspapers in daily life. Following this, pupils will learn about the different components of a newspaper and the key terminology used to describe these components.

Wellbeing is fundamentally important to young people’s physical and mental health. Mental health problems affect around one in six young people. This can affect all areas of their life: home, school, friendships and relationships. It is important to help everyone understand mental health problems so no one has to feel alone. The Irish News supported by our partners, want to ensure there is more awareness around the importance of mental health with the hope that this project will help to promote personal wellbeing and the importance of asking for help if you need it.

Climate change poses an urgent threat to future generations and 81% of young people feel their generation is under pressure to solve environmental issues such as climate change and plastic pollution. This theme will explore awareness, concern and how we can take charge and make changes every day to live more sustainably.

How children and young people think and feel about their bodies and the way they look can affect their mental health in both a positive and negative way. If children and young people feel that they do not match up to certain standards, or that they are not ‘good enough’ in some ways, it can affect them negatively. This week, we will share information about healthy choices and exercise and reinforce positive body image messaging through interviews with role models, breaking down myths around edited versions of bodies that social media audiences are accustomed to expect.

During this week, pupils will once again take a look at the purpose of a newspaper and the importance of trusted news sources. Pupils will be encouraged to not only look at the current and world affairs that feature in the paper, but also to take a look at the news circulating in their school and local town. Pupils will learn to distinguish between different news sources and the importance of being able to spot ‘Fake News’ in a world where it is readily available.

The rise of technology has had a significant impact on the lives of young people. Technology can be an amazing tool, however, there are also concerns about how it impacts self-perception and privacy. While social media can be praised as a way to connect with both family and friends during difficult times, it is not without its drawbacks. We will explore ‘being kind’ on social media, cyberbullying, privacy issues, and a waning awareness of reality.

As young children grow older and move through the school years, they’ll get to know peers with a wide variety of abilities, cultures, languages, and backgrounds. It’s totally natural for them to notice similarities and differences and express curiosity. This week we will celebrate diversity and express a positive interest in diverse cultures, things that make them special, encouraging students to have open conversations about stereotypes and biases.

The purpose of our final theme is to explore career-related learning and open up the world of opportunities that are out there. It’s about showing young people that opportunities are endless, exposing them to a wide range of experiences, and encouraging them to understand that they can be anything they want, regardless of their gender, ethnicity or where they live. It’s also about dismantling the gendered and racialised stereotypes about careers that children as young as six can begin to develop. Career-related learning has been proven to motivate and fire the imagination, especially when it comes to their learning, as students are beginning to learn more about their own abilities and talents and see the links between their learning and their future.

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