December 15, 2004

NEWS: Young writers are praised for their positive reporting (UK)

Young journalist Emily Andrews was the winner of the professional category at this year's Prince's Trust Local Reporting Awards.

She penned an article in the Birmingham Evening Mail during Local Newspaper Week to show how the Trust helped someone to turn their life around.

Emily, who now works for sister title the Sunday Mercury, wrote about Leroy Elliot.

He gained support from The Prince's Trust after getting caught up in a life of drugs and petty crime.

Leroy was finally prompted to take action and get his life on track when his best friend committed suicide.

The Prince's Trust was on hand to offer him the backing he needed to set up his own photography and marketing company Â? Digital Media Insight.

Emily said: "Newspapers are often criticised for always portraying young people in a negative light, but this instance shows that local newspapers have an equally important role in promoting the good work that young people do in the community."

Ben Griffin, from the Coventry Evening Telegraph, was highly commended for his article about Lizzie Smith and her achievements on Team, the Trust's 12-week personal development programme.

Lisa Varty won the non-professional category for her article in the Carlisle News and Star. She wrote about how her experiences with Team helped her to gain the confidence and motivation she needed to move her life forward, after dropping out of school.

Lisa said: "It was so exciting to see my article in the News and Star and now to win the award is unbelievable!

"I think that it's really important that young people get a chance to voice their opinions and write about the positive things that they are doing in the community through their local newspapers.

"Thanks to the Prince's Trust and everyone on the Team programme I've now got a job and I've started an apprenticeship, but I hope that this will be a positive start to my writing career as well."

An interview with Prince's Trust Ambassador and TV sports presenter Gabby Logan was the prize for the winners of this year's competition.

Gabby publicised the awards through an article earlier this year, which was published across the regional press industry during this year's Local Newspaper Week. She presented the awards at The Prince's Trust in London yesterday, and was interviewed by the two winners.

The Prince's Trust Local Reporting Awards, run in association with the Newspaper Society, recognise excellence in regional press reporting by young writers, who highlight the positive contribution that young people make to the community, and the work of the Prince's Trust. Entries were published across the regional press during this year's Local Newspaper Week which ran in May.

David Newell, director of the Newspaper Society said: "The media is often criticised for portraying young people in a negative way. But across the UK, young people are making a positive contribution towards their communities, and they are being written about by their local newspapers.

"Local newspapers reflect the communities they serve, telling local stories, good and bad, and campaigning for local issues.

"This is why we linked up with the PrinceÂ?s Trust to run these awards, which recognise the way that many local newspapers work with the young people to create positive change."

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