World Association of News Publishers

My Dream Interview - A Youth Reporter Festival of Success Stories

My Dream Interview - A Youth Reporter Festival of Success Stories

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The My Dream Interview Festival calls for student teams to submit questions to the local news publisher for prominent persons they want to interview. 

The publisher's team then selects the best sets of questions and helps the students do the interviews. A key element for the choice is that interview subjects must have achieved their success through hard work.

The inaugural edition (2012) was supported by Fundación Acindar as part of its 50th anniversary observance and conducted in cooperation with WAN-IFRA's World Editors Forum. In all, more than 2000 students worldwide participated, working with 21 newspapers in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. 

WAN-IFRA provided a teacher’s guide in English and Spanish (pictured at left) for helping students learn how to do interviews. You can receive a PDF on request from

“We wanted to do two things with this project,” said Aralynn McMane, Executive Director of Young Readership Development at WAN-IFRA. “Most important was to offer a fun way to introduce youth to the practice of professional journalism, as only newspapers can provide. But it was also a way to encourage newspapers to work closely with, and listen to, young people. From the reactions of teachers, students and newspaper people worldwide, we know that both missions were accomplished. Put another way, the contest results simply offer great frosting for a cake that is already very, very satisfying.”

The WAN-IFRA project coordinator, Roxana Morduchowicz, said: "The newspapers´ participation and the comments, questions and suggestions I got expressed the great interest for this festival. All newspapers agreed upon the high level of motivation and fun that the project generated among students and teachers, and I strongly believe that a second edition will further strengthen this effect in the other countries that would be able to take part."

Newspapers could submit up to two interviews, in English, for judging on the international level by a team of judges from countries other than those entering the contest. (Scroll down to meet the judges and find out about the inspiration of the contest from our Chilean member association and from a Jordanian newspaper.)


Frankfurt ceremony:: Winners representing teams from Spain and Argentina join WAN-IFRA and ArcelorMittel Foundation executives on stage.Frankfurt ceremony:: Winners representing teams from Spain and Argentina join WAN-IFRA and ArcelorMittel Foundation executives on stage.

Diario do Nordeste prize: WAN-IFRA board member Carlos Fernando Lindenberg Neto presents the award to Pádua Lopes, the paper's director.Diario do Nordeste prize: WAN-IFRA board member Carlos Fernando Lindenberg Neto presents the award to Pádua Lopes, the paper's director.Two student teams working with La Nación of Argentina won the top My Dream Interview Prize with jury commenations going to teams working with Diario de Navarra of Spain and Diario do Nordeste of Brazil. A special mention award went to the Fundacion para el Periodismo of Bolivia, which not only persuaded the country’s 12 leading newspapers to participate, but also helped assure that a group of children got to interview the country’s President.

The international competition featured a jury of prominent journalists from Ireland, South Africa, France and Germany, and concluded with a prize ceremony that opened WAN-IFRA’s World Publishing Expo and Conferences on 29 October in Frankfurt, Germany. (Read more about the ceremony here --  en español de Diario de Navarra aqui.) The winning interviews will be offered to publications worldwide by The Interview People, another partner in the project, with all proceeds going to the winning schools.

The student and teacher team representatives who picked up the awards also did a study visit about the world of journalism today and about Germany and its youth.

Volunteers from Protechmedia and FAZ newspaper explained some of the latest news about today's journalism.Volunteers from Protechmedia and FAZ newspaper explained some of the latest news about today's journalism.SCENES FROM A YOUTH REPORTER STUDY VISIT:

The city tourism bureau and the Spanish-speaking community helped to explore the city, a school and the Anne Frank Centre.The city tourism bureau and the Spanish-speaking community helped to explore the city, a school and the Anne Frank Centre.


Estela de Carlotto: Her daughter Laura, three months pregnant and a university history student, was abducted in 1977 by the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina at that time, and then killed once the baby was born. Estela joined and became the head of “The Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo,” which aims to find these grandchildren From left: Students Danisa Herrera, Tomás Cassetta, Estela de Carlotto (who the students interviewed), Guadalupe López, Wanda Aguilar and Buscarita Roa, another “grandmother.”From left: Students Danisa Herrera, Tomás Cassetta, Estela de Carlotto (who the students interviewed), Guadalupe López, Wanda Aguilar and Buscarita Roa, another “grandmother.”and restore them to their legitimate families, while demanding punishment for those responsible for the kidnappings and murders of the era. (Argentina - La Nación )

SCHOOL: 7th Grade - School 1252 Prefectura Naval Argentina- Villa Constitucion - Santa Fe Province – Argentina Students: Wanda Aguilar,  Guadalupe López,  Tomás Cassetta, and Danisa Herrera. Teacher: Graciela Leiva 

 The judges said:  "This interview was like a blow to the solar plexus. Great choice of subject, a brave look at the country's history, and a fascinatingly readable account. You were really on her side, and I'm still hoping she finds her grandson. The reader was engaged .... Harrowing and chilling, the story is very well told through young eyes. They asked intelligent questions and reported the answers well. The story of the 'Grandmothers' is relatively well known, but this piece gave me a far greater understanding....A deeply moving story, perfectly handled by the interviewers." (TOTAL SCORE - 54 of possible 60)

The teacher said: It was a very interesting project because it allowed students to work on content from the curriculum that we have to teach, in a more creative way. The students learned about these subjects and they did it with a great pleasure and fun. During the whole work, they were learning a lot of things. It was a very productive project because the kids were very enthusiastic and they did not only work at school with the teacher, but they also worked at home, with their parents, looking for more information about the person they chose.

Susana Trimarco: In the last decade her Foundation of Maria of the Angels has rescued over 900 Argentine women forced into sexual slavery, discovered important human trafficking networks operating in several provinces in Argentina and successfully pushed for new, stronger legislation. (Argentina - La Nación )

SCHOOL: 7th Grade, School Club De Leones N°1158 , Villa Constitucion, Santa Fe Province, Argentina. Students:  Alexis Juan Domingo Dominguez,  Juan Cruz Krausse, Santos Marzano, Alan Joel Moreyra, Renzo Lautaro Pavón, and Franco Tomás Sosa.  Teacher: Alicia Jausoro. 

The judges said: "Shocking, moving, fascinating - a great interview .... Extremely difficult subject matter dealt with sensitively and in detail. Genuinely moving and well told .... A difficult subject well handled. Interesting and readable" (Total score of 53 out of possible 60)

The teacher said: "When we were invited to take part in this project, we thought that it was going to be hard. But when I proposed it to the kids, they showed a lot of interest. They started to work in the classroom. They suggested different people and they looked for information about them on the Internet. It was very positive because they learned skills that can be applied to other areas and that they will use not only this year but the next one as well. To learn about interviews is a very useful tool. We think this project allowed us to have a new strategy to work contents with the kids."

Maria da Penha: She led a successful international fight to change Brazil’s laws concerning domestic violence, which had permitted her husband to escape punishment after shooting her in the back (Brazil – Diário do Nordeste)

SCHOOL: ESCOLA MUNICIPAL DE ENSINO FUNDAMENTAL E MÉDIO EDSON QUEIROZ, MARACANAÚ-CE - Students: Erison Lucas Medeiros Lemos, Calebe Ferreira Monte, Elinarya Ellen Paulino da Silva, Raimunda Almeida da Silva, Gabriela Lima dos Santos, Jorge Nicolas Fernandes da Silva. Advisor Teacher: Claudiana Ferreira Almeida do Nascimento

The judges said: A brave subject for kids to tackle, and they did an excellent job. … What a fascinating woman. The facts about the misogynic side of Brazilian society are delivered pretty unemotionally and are therefore all the more shocking - a very good interview … Excellent work, combines a really good interview subject with a well thought out interview. Creates a genuine impact with both the message expressed and the reality of the achievement. A difficult topic handled well. Total score of 50 out of possible 60.


Irene Villa: She lost her legs at age 12 when terrorists bombed her family car and later became an author, screenwriter and national symbol for forgiveness. (Spain - Diario de Navarra). You can download the published interview at the bottom of this page.

The newspaper's project was supported locally by Fundación Diario de Navarra.

See coverage by the newspaper here.

See a video presentation of the project here (en Español) and download the transcript in English and Spanish at the bottom of this page.

SCHOOL: Pedro de Atarrabia Junior High School – Year 8.  Students: Ana Gil Espartero, Maite Sánchez Galera, Rosa Cruz Chueca, Raquel Aristu Marañón, Nidia Pino Duarte and Itziar Saenz Bretón (all 13 years old). Teacher: Jose Javier Baile.

The judges said: "Here is a person whose story tells us about destiny, hope and faith - very impressive. The interview team did great research work on her life which shows in the questions - a very good interview ... An utterly inspiring subject. Excellent choice. The interview made me feel humble." (Total score of 49 out of possible 60)

The teacher said: "Regardless of the result, this contest has been perfect. My students have had great fun while working hard, and they´ve come to realize that they´ve done a great job. This contest has been especially important for their motivation. They´ve learnt more about newspapers and journalism, and they´ve got the chance to know someone really special. I very much appreciate the opportunity this contest gave my students to work in something big (at least that´s how they tell me they feel)."

The newspaper coordinator said: "It´s been wonderful from the beginning to the end. For me, personally it´s been great. Secondly, the rest of the journalists involved received the initiative with great joy and imagination, even though it required a lot of extra work. And finally, we´ve made it possible for all these teams of students and teachers to learn and enjoy doing something they´ve called “big”. All of them, selected or not, have congratulated us for the contest and for the extra motivation the students have worked with. … The idea is just beautiful. So is the goal. And along the way we all have enjoyed, we have learnt and, above all, we have recovered for a few weeks the basic desire to know and to tell that a journalist should always preserve."

The students said: The first group of girls, Iziar Sáenz, Nidia Pino and Rosa Cruz, said that they were all very happy to have been chosen for the interview. They were nervous at first, but once the interview started they felt more confident about their questions. Nidia said that they had to put in a lot of time and effort into this interview, but it was all worth it in the end. Rosa explained that they would get into groups and come up with several different questions, and in the end they picked out the most important an interesting ones. The second group of girls, Malte Sanchez, Ana Espartero and Raquel Marañon, all agreed it was a very fun experience. Ana Espartero stated that it was a pleasure meeting Irene, who was very nice and taught her that you shouldn't place limits on yourself -- you should always fight for what you want.


Bolivia's president, Evo Morales, answers students' questions.Bolivia's president, Evo Morales, answers students' questions.In Bolivia, the Fundacion para el Periodismo of Bolivia persuaded the country’s 12 leading newspapers to participate, allowing teams of children to interview a wide range of people who achieved their success through hard work, including the country’s president.

The effort also earned, on August 30, a special commendation from the country's Education Commission of the Chamber of Deputies.

See a video presentation of the project here. 

One student in the video said: And when I saw the interview in the newspapers, I felt bizarre. I was awestruck. I never thought I would get to appear in the newspapers in that way.

One teacher said: I think it’s a very good initiative because it’s not a passive (type of) work. It’s an active (type of) work. Students like to learn while doing. And I think that the subjects of communication, of media and journalism lend themselves to that type of learning.

You can download more student and teacher reactions from Bolivia (in English and Spanish) at the bottom of this page.

The group's media literacy activities are a growing component of the organisation's partnership with the European Journalism Centre's five-year Press Freedom 2.0 initiative funded by the Netherlands Foreign Ministry. It is part of a much broader global project that includes other Netherlands-based media partners World Press Photo, People on a Mission, Free Press Unlimited and European Partnership for Democracy, focusing on press freedom and media development issues in 11 countries on five continents.


WAN-IFRA invited four experts in journalistic interviewing from around the world to act as volunteer judges (all from countries where no newspaper was participating in the festival). Each judge individually assessed each story on three criteria, each worth a maximum of five points : the nature of the person chosen (that they fit the profile of someone who succeeded through hard work),  the quality of the questions and the level of potential international interest in this interview. 


Uli Karg is editorial director for The Interview People, a partner in the My Dream Interview festival. After the study of political science in Munich, Uli Karg worked as a freelance journalist for several newspapers and magazines in Germany and Austria. Amongst others, Vanity Fair, Süddeutsche Zeitung and der Standard printed his interviews with the likes of Carla Bruni, John Travolta, Cameron Diaz, Bryan Ferry, Pete Doherty and The White Stripes. In 2005 he co-founded the publishing house The Interview People, which specialises in licensing and syndication of text and images for interviews, features and analysis.

"In general I have to say that I was very impressed with the topics the kids chose. They mainly focused on strong, impressive individuals who dedicated their lives to make this world a better place – hardly any pop stars and sportsmen which are widely regarded as idols of the youth. Also, they wanted to learn from their interviewees which is a very important approach for journalists in general. Only if journalists themselves constantly learn will they have the chance to continue to reach their readers."



Vivien Horler is a South African journalist who has interviewed hundreds of news figures in a career that began at the Cape Argus in 1973. She has since covered courts, health, education, local government and parliament, and for Argus South Africa Newspapers, served as a foreign correspondent based in London for five years. She has covered the couture collections in Paris, attended a Buckingham Palace garden party, and dined with Nelson Mandela. She now edits such content for the Weekend Argus Arts Review, the books pages, the travel supplement and a special edition for primary school children.

"What a great approach to teaching! I was most impressed by the majority of the subjects. The kids really went for inspiring interviewees, and a couple of them blew me away. They really took it all so seriously. Thanks so much for involving me in something kids obviously got such a rush out of doing."



Duan Stokes is publishing director of Hot Press & and current honorary chairperson of Magazines Ireland, Hot Press, which is regularly named Ireland’s Magazine of the Year is best known for their in-depth interviews with musicians, actors, artists, writers and politicians.

"I was genuinely blown away by some of the depth & perception in some of the interviews. The questions asked showed a clear understanding of what were often challenging and difficult themes and a willingness to explore the truth behind the initial public knowledge. It is of genuine credit to all those involved to get young people (some not even yet teenagers) engaged in this project, but it is of even greater credit to the participants who showed that they are another wave of inquisitive minds and potentially fearless campaigners waiting to arrive to the media space over the next few years."



François Dufour is a leading journalistic figure in France as a reporter, professor, observer of the news media practice and the founder of four dailies for children. He is also the co-inventer of BrainQuest, a leading educational game in the United States, and co-founder of Play Bac, an educational publishing company based in Paris. His newspapers for children and adolescents have held numerous contests based on interviews. Most recently, as the only French reporter present at the New York City arraignment of prominent French politician Domique Strauss-Kahn accused of sexual assault, he interviewed a variety of people involved in the first day of the scandal for his book “DSK May 16, 2011 – From The Perp Walk To Rikers Island.”



Why Acindar Foundation supported a project to encourage young people to become journalists for a day

Fundación Acindar is the oldest corporate foundation of Argentina. On its 50th anniversay, the Foundation decided that the best way to celebrate was being loyal to its mission: investing in the education of new generations. Therefore, FundaciónAcindar proudly decided to support the worldwide programme “My Dream Interview”, organized by World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).

Helping with education is core of the Fundación Acindar.Helping with education is core of the Fundación Acindar.“We are very enthusiastic about our sponsorship of ‘My Dream Interview’, since it is a contest which reflects and highlights the same values that Fundación Acindar has always pursued: the importance of succeeding in life throughout hard and consistent work, searching for excellence rather than just ephemeral accomplishments," commented Arturo Acevedo, president of the Acindar Foundation. "In this first 50 years of Acindar Foundation, we can affirm that, although the road we have chosen is certainly not the fastest nor the easiest, we are truly convinced that it is a worth-while journey.”

Since its constitution, back in 1962, Fundación Acindar started an innovative path of hard work with a very clear mission: to promote education as the key to social change. The skills involved in this programme allow young participants to enrich their vocabulary, to value life experiences and success stories and to enjoy participating in a worldwide competition experience.

That the student teams that were helped by an Argentina newspaper actually won the judgement of the independent, international jury was a surprise and a bonus

“We feel overwhelmed by the news that the two teams from Argentina have both received the top awards for the first My Dream Interview global youth reporter festival of success stories, said , Cecilia Barbón, executive director at Fundación Acindar. "Not only has the interview itself turned out into a fruitful journey (in which they traveled to Buenos Aires city, far from hometown Villa Constitución to get to know people they admired because of their life experiences), but also now they will be able to travel to Europe to receive the award, which will also definitely transform into a new life experience which they will remember forever."

Felicidad Cristobal, CEO of the ArcelorMittal Foundation, an Acindar Foundation board member who participated in the Frankfurt awards ceremony said: “We are extremely pleased to support this contest that has been highly successful in bringing out the creativity of children and at the same time highlighting the rewards and success that hard work can bring to a human being irrespective of his/her nationality, race or religion”. 



The My Dream Interview global youth reporter festival of success stories has its origins in both Jordan and Chile. 

In Chile, the national newspaper association, Asociacion Nacionale de la Prensa, began a national interview contest more than a decade ago.  The association offers individual children between 6 and 14 years old across the country to win a chance to interview their favorite prominent person and then see the interview published in newspapers across the country. The initiative has been supported by the Ministry of Education and the Council for Culture and the Arts, as part of its work to encourage the reading of newspapers and magazines in order to involve children in life and news events. More about this and other Chile young reader projects HERE. 

Meanwhile, in Jordan, Al Ghad newspaper did a series in 2011 of successful people in the country who had gotten where they were through hard work.

WAN-IFRA, following the long tradition of newspapers and newspaper associations everywhere, combined and adapted those two ideas for the global My Dream Interview project.



Aralynn McMane's picture

Aralynn McMane


2012-08-02 12:45

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The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) helps newspapers, parents and teachers work together to engage the young to create a literate, civic-minded new generation of readers all over the world. Read more ...