All the awards for a wide array of initiatives were presented during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, DC (USA). [PHOTO: Frank Mitchell, Newseum]
The World Young Reader Prizes are part of WAN-IFRA’s efforts to recognize, encourage and disseminate innovative ideas and thinking to help build stronger and vital news media. World Young Reader Prize winning strategies are celebrated and shared as they benefit not only the media companies and their young audiences but also society as a whole.
R.AGE, the youth initiative of The Star in Malaysia, was named the 2016 World Young Reader News Publisher of the Year, which is the top World Young Reader Prize award, for an initiative that began with a series explaining the seriousness of cheerleading and eventually yielded a full-blown social video media and reporting action team, producing a compelling undercover documentary about child sex predators on mobile chat apps and an investigation of a mysterious illness attacking the children of an indigenous tribe that brought government action.
The team launched R.AGE TV with a very small budget, going so far as to barter advertising in exchange for start-up cameras and video-editing equipment, which they then had to teach themselves to use. Their first documentary explored the popular (and relatively safe) topic of Malaysia’s growing cheerleading culture and community. They used their initial success and the documentary’s popularity to attract funding that enabled them to investigate and raise awareness about other more serious issues, such as child sex predators on mobile chat apps (become The Star's most-watched video of the year with 1.5 million views, and a mystery illness causing the death of young children in an indigenous tribe that prompted a govenment inquiry.
They also produced a multimedia package that encouraged intergenerational interaction with survivors of World War II as part of the 70th anniversary celebrations commemorating the the end of the war.
THE JUDGES SAID: This entry documents how a small, dedicated editorial team stuck to its guns to convert their product into a multimedia brand. With a very small budget, R.AGE created big results and positive consequences for the company. The dynamic team managed to attract several sponsorship deals in R.AGE TV's first year as a result of its excellent strategy.
THE EDITOR OF THE STAR, LEANNE GOH, SAID (in part): The success of .... R.AGE's overall content strategy affirms The Star's long-standing commitment to empowering young people through journalism and embracing digital media innovations as part of our company's DNA. We believe R.AGE is already inspiring a new generation of multimedia journalists across the country, which can only stand us in good stead in the years to come. (Click HERE to see her full remarks.)
R.AGE EDITOR IAN YEE SAID ABOUT THE AWARD: I believe many youth teams in newspapers struggle to get any kind of real recognition. We're often seen as just a bunch of plucky kids in some corner of the newsroom who aren't quite real journalists, but this award helps break that stereotype. [This recognition] reminds everyone that young journalists, armed with technology and the freedom to innovate, can be forces to be reckoned with. We can be disruptive to the newsroom - but in the best possible way. Awards like this will only encourage young journalists to continue being disruptive, to continue challenging traditions, to continue pushing boundaries; which is exactly what it has already done for R.AGE.
The other top prizes went to news publishers in Germany, The Netherlands, Poland and Belgium:
Schleswig-Holsteinischer Zeitung of Germany, for Welcome to Germany Language Training for Refugees with the Newspaper:
WHAT THEY DID: This initiative used proven news-in-education (NIE) strategies to creatively help 2,000 young refugees learn to speak German and understand German culture, in an effort to help them integrate into their new lives. The refugees were divided into three groups (6-11-years, 11-16 year, and 16+ years). Every day for three months they received a copy of the newspaper, along with appropriate NIE exercises. Other resources included booklets in Arabic, news articles by other refugees to motivate them, and a handbook for teachers on how to incorporate refugees in their classrooms. The programme helped the refugee and German children unite through common activities that didn't rely too much on strong language skills.
THE JUDGES SAID: It's absolutely brilliant -- applying the skills developed during its classic NIE program to face one of the most important challenges of European societies. We also like the resources they created for teachers. A great model for elsewhere.
NEWS IN EDUCATION
Polska Press Group of Poland for #juniorlab.
WHAT THEY DID: Once a month juniormedia.pl provides an online multimedia lesson for school students. It offers useful online journalism tools that will assist them with digital photography, interactive reporting, video journalism, data journalism and infographic design. Each #juniorlab lesson ends with two tasks: a group task for the school newspaper team and an individual task for young journalists. The best results earn electronic equipment as prizes plus points toward an overall ranking. At the end of the school year, top-ranked schools can send students to the company's week-long Junior Media Summer School. During an 8-month period there were 2,500 registered schools and 15,000 students involved involved in the programme, with approximately 200 school newspapers produced each month.
The Judges Said: This initiative offers inspiration for anyone considering how to update their current news in education program by concentrating on helping students produce journalism using the most modern tools and also offering something new to potential partners.
This category is kindly supported by the American Press Institute (API), which conducts research, training, convenes thought leaders and creates tools to help chart a path ahead for journalism in the 21st century.
Uitgeverij Young & Connected of the Netherlands for its news app
WHAT THEY DID : The team used cheap and free resources to research and then create a news app for its 7Days media brand that focuses on news for teenagers. Based on their insights that their users (12- to 18-year-olds) often do not have much time to keep track of the news or the inclination to search actively for it themselves, the app team selects and sends them relevant content, providing the correct level of detail and background, and using a form and language their young audience appreciate. The app provides seven of the best and/or most important news articles each day, plus an eighth story clearly marked as native advertising.
The Judges Said: We really loved this entry: A dedicated editorial team did their research and, at almost no cost, and provided a service teens wanted and liked. Easily replicated, too.
This category is kindly supported by CCI Europe, a leading provider of editorial and advertising solutonis for cross-media news environments.
Lausitzer Rundschau of Germany for Planbar
This multi-faceted, multimedia and profitable initiative helps young people about to enter the job market. PLANBAR offers career guidance and life skills icreated by a team of student reporters in touch with their target market. It includes an annual magazine, a website and a digital recruitment database. Aimed at assisting high school students and school leavers as they take their first steps towards adulthood and self-sufficiency, it is also of vaue to parents and companies that target and/or recruit young people (advertisers). It is marketed through schools, youth centres and online events and funded by advertising and sponsorships.
The Judges Said: This is a great example of new product development with a sustainable business model that shows publishers there's business to be made by targeting young people. There's a problem defined and a solution proposed. we especially like the multimedia approach that includes a magazine, an online web page but also online directories and online job fairs.
Het Belang van Limburg of Belgium (Editorial) for a special focus in its “We solve your problems” on young people that opened up new relationships in the process. For the UN International Day of the Rights of the Child (20/11/2016), the publisher used its popular weekly problem-solving feature to focus exclusively on and solve problems that young people had written to them about. This was very well received across all age groups and the company is now exploring expanding the project, including to other demographics
The Judges Said: "This news publisher proved its usefuleness to young people through solution-orientated journalism that helped them deal with and overcome problems they were experiencing. As an in-paper initiative, the concept is cheap and easy to copy. This was a special UN-themed activity, but it made young people feel welcomed by the newspaper and encouraged to continue using the problem-solving service."
Winners of other awards are from France, India, Hong Kong (China), South Africa, and the United States. A description of all the winners can be found below.
All the awards will be presented during a program on 1 December at the Newseum, the interactive museum in Washington, D.C. dedicated to free expression and the five freedoms of the U.S. First Amendment*: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. Through exhibits, programs and education, the Newseum works to ensure that these fundamental freedoms remain strong and protected both today and for future generations. More about the NewseumED activites can be found here : https://newseumed.org
SILVER AND SPECIAL MENTION AWARD CHAMPIONS
TWO SILVER AWARDS AND ONE SPECIAL MENTION
1. Schwäbische Zeitung
WHAT THEY DID: Fifteen young readers between the ages of 14 and 16 were placed in charge of a Saturday edition of the newspaper. They researched information, wrote articles, commented on certain topics and were also responsible for the design.
THE JURY SAID: We applaud any youth takeover initiative and this one, which put total control of an edition of the printed newspaper into the hands of a group of teenagers, is awesome. It also included multimedia engagement. Even better, the news publisher plans to use the young people's feedback to make a better product. (See more about how you can do a World Teenage News Takeover Project at http://www.wan-ifra.org/node/102811)
2. NU.nl (Sanoma Media)
SILVER (Netherlands) for Exam App Partnership
WHAT THEY DID: During school exam time in the Netherlands, NU.nl invited bloggers from the the country's popular student website Scholieren.com to work together with its journalists to cover the exams, producing nearly 4 million page views during that period.
THE JURY SAID: This is a great example of how news publishers can expand their reach by forming partnerships with niche websites that successfully focus on and cater to young people.
3. South China Morning Post (Young Post)
SPECIAL MENTION (Hong Kong, China) for the Second World War edition
WHAT THEY DID: The team created a throw-back edition of the regular paper that includes film and music reviews as well as news stories that may have been printed on ""Victory against Japan"" (VJ) Day. There is also a first-person account of life as a resistance fighter during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong.
THE JURY SAID: This is a very cool and easily replicable way to revive history for young people by creating a vintage edition of the newspaper.
See a video HERE about what was in it.
TWO SILVER AWARDS
WHAT THEY DO: WeCan24 has moved from helping students create printed newspapers to giving them the tools to set up and maintain their own online school news sites and mobile-phone based systems. Their main target market is South African learners between the ages of 12 and 19 as well as their teachers.
THE JURY SAID: This is a good example of a long-lasting NIE project that has transitioned successfully into the digital arena. Fun and efficient, with good figures and private and public partners, it also makes a significant contribution to other social initiatives through its various parnership programmes.
2. Tampa Bay Times
SILVER (United States since 1988) for Enterprise Village Times
WHAT THEY DO: The Enterprise Village Times is a daily newspaper created by fifth-grade (10- and 11-year-olds) students during their full-day visit to Enterprise Village, a mock 'shopping mall' with more than 20 storefronts sponsored by local businesses and government organisations. The experience marks the culmination of a six-week financial literacy programme run in schools during which students study concepts including the basics of economics and capitalism, and learn how to use a debit card, manage a budget, apply for a job and work as a team. Since the beginning, the programme is designed to give upper primary school students the experience of having a job, earning a salary and managing their money. The Tampa Bay Times has been involved with the project since its inception.
THE JURY SAID: This very sound project supports financial education, encourages teamwork and gives young people a taste of working life, while simultaneously ensuring that they see the newspaper as an integral part of society."
THREE SILVER AWARDS and TWO SPECIAL MENTION AWARDS
This category is kindly supported by the Harnser Group, a global risk security specialist serving Europe, the Middle East and North Africa
WHAT THEY DID: News-Decoder is a new digital initiative that offers young adults aroung the world a platform for exchanging articles, ideas and viewpoints on important news and issues in order to build a borderless community of young people with a deep understanding of complex global realities. Supported by a network of universities and high schools around the world, it helps users 'decode' major news themes not only by publishing an impartial range of articles written by a mix of experienced correspondents and young millenials but also by organising online debates and discussions attended by hundreds of participants. It was launched through a crowd-funding campaign in 2015 and the idea is to eventually charge participating institutions a membership fee, supplemented by donations and sponsorships.
THE JURY SAID: This is a great, global effort to create original content crafted by young adults and media correspondents around the world. We loved the "decoder" idea, the webinars (online debates and discussions) and how they embrace all aspects of modern media (text, video and pictures). We hope they can sustain themselves financially in the future.
2. The Daily Vox
WHAT THEY DID: This small digital start-up won the trust of South African students to tell their stories in 2015 during the #FeesMustFall campaign against a rise in university tuition costs, providing a counter-narrative to what was being reported in many mainstream publications.
THE JURY SAID: This is a great example of a successful digital product launch on the wave of a national protest and widespread social change. It does the crucial job of giving voice to marginalised young people and portraying their view of the facts, something which many of the bigger news publishers often forget to do.
3. Journal des Enfants
SILVER (France) for Exiled Artists edition
WHAT THEY DID: The Journal des Enfants made the portrait of three artists (singer, caricaturist, poet) who were forced to flee their country because of their art in connection with the annual News Media in Schools Week that had freedom of expression as the main theme.
THE JURY SAID: We really liked how they focused on artists whose disciplines would resonate with kids. It was well executed, good for the brand and carried the excellent message that it is not only journalists whose freedom of expression is persecuted.
4. Dainik Bhaskar
SPECIAL MENTION (India) for One Tree, One Life (Ek Ped Ek Zindagi)
WHAT THEY DID: This project promoted awareness among school children about the value and environmental importance of planting and nurturing trees. 2.5 million saplings were planted across 14 cities in an initiative that involved more than 1-million children, who were able to name and personalise their trees.
THE JURY SAID: While it may be impossible for other news publishers to match the massive numbers from India, this environ-friendly project offers good ideas that can be used anywhere on how to engage young people and work with them to make a meaningful and positive impact in their communities in ways that naturally resonate.
4. South China Morning Post
SPECIAL MENTION (Hong-Kong, China) for Exam Tip Project
WHAT THEY DID: This initiative by the Young Post team provided helpful study tips for secondary school students writing their compulsory final English and Mathematics exams, as well as post-exam analyses of the question papers. The results included 3, 000 views in 2 hours for the Maths tips, 17000 views for the English tips, and a huge spike in the news publisher's web traffic and social media engagement.
THE JURY SAID: This is a fresh approach to helping students with exams and good example of an editorial project having a great impact on readers and on the newspaper's success. Solution-oriented journalism works. Writing about things people care about works.
See a video HERE about why they did it.