World Association of News Publishers



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This is the third installment of a WAN-IFRA Youth & News Media series about news literacy initiatives around the world (outside the United States) that have been created by or could involve news publishers. It was commissioned by the American Press Institute. Lead author is Aralynn McMane.


#3 CREATE WAYS TO TRY JOURNALISM: Provide experiences that help young people get a taste of newsmaking for themselves.

(NOTE: * denotes a WAN-IFRA Center of Youth Engagement Excellence and ** a winner of the WAN-IFRA World Young Reader Prize)

One of the best ways to understand and appreciate the work of the journalistic enterprise is to try it, even for a day.

News literacy practitioners emphasize that they are not in the business of teaching people to become journalists. However, offering children and teenagers the chance to do professional journalism for an hour, a day or a week provides very memorable lessons. Reporting is fun, scary and demanding, and there's nothing like doing it even for a very short time to appreciate all of that. Newsroom staffs also learn from this activity as working with young people breaks stereotypes about them. (Part 4 will have more about face-to-face encounters.)

Local initiatives that expose young people to the work of journalism come in a wide variety, ranging from elaborate, high-tech simulations to very simple actions in the classroom. Sometimes the work is simply a smart modernization of what's come before.

For example, when the Polish regional media group, Polska Press Group,** stopped its long-standing practice of printing school newspapers, it launched #juniorlab, a fully online news in education initiative. The main idea of #juniorlab is to teach students about the modern digital tools and methods that reporters currently use and to offer prizes for learning those lessons well.

Once a month provides a multimedia lesson with photos, videos and other materials created in-house. Each  #juniorlab lesson ends with two tasks – a group task for the school newspaper team and a second, 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  

"What we have done is depart a little from traditional newspapers to begin to teach young people about modern, online journalism," says project coordinator Joanna Pazio, project director and public relations manager. [Video 00:01:00]

The most ambitious efforts aim for total immersion. Thanks to support from the trust that owns it, The Guardian** in London  operates a multifaceted news literacy program from its News & Media Education Centre housed not far from the newsroom. Primary and secondary students can do one of several kinds of free whole-day or after-school workshops for 9- to 18-year-olds with more than 7000 students participating each year. Participants also meet with journalists to discuss newsgathering, ethics, etc. Primary pupils can do a basic page of general news or one focusing on Victorian era news, science or the environment. Secondary students can write, do coding, edit videos or create historical front pages about women getting the right to vote, the first World War or civil rights in the United States. Other Guardian programs target university students and explore journalism careers.  [Video 00:01:05]

For more than two decades, France's regional news pubisher l'Alsace** has run a massive, week-long Journaliste d'un Jour [Journalist for a Day] activity that gives 1500 secondary students the chance to create and market special editions after working from temporary newsrooms all over the region. Besides producing print editions, teams can also participate in a video contest.  [Video 00:00:56]

In several countries, especially in Scandinavia, technology-aided simulations have put students completely into the role a journalist after a powerful introduction featuring news photos from around the world set to rock music. Medialab is the version at Denmark's Fyens Stiftstidendes (daily print circulation about 55 000) that serves 2400 teenagers a year who, in the middle of the normal newsgathering activity must drop everything to cover a breaking story about a school class in a boat that nearly drowns due to bad weather on the ocean. Before attending, teachers have access to materials that cover how to determine story angles, make decisions about using and believing sources, ethics, selecting images and more.

"Medialab is not only part of our corporate social responsibility strategy," says editor Poul Kjærgaard. "It’s also a contribution to the story we are trying to tell in being more pro-active in explaining qualities of our paid content. As a local daily, we have a unique brand for all ages, I think. But younger audiences don’t find our content themselves. We need to act as coaches in shaping their news media habits." 

Sadly, several publishers have closed their simulations as original technology and structures became both outdated and expensive to maintain. Helsingen Sanomat's Piste, pictured at right and among the earliest of such such centers, is one such case.

Two Portuguese news publishers opened  Media Labs** in November 2010. Labs at both Jornal de Notícias (Porto, circulation 88,426) and Diário de Notícias (Lisbon, circulation 23,675) provide students with workshops designed to help them become critical thinkers, to express their opinions and to develop news-writing skills as they produce print and online products using layout programs, podcasts and video.  

“Young people may be digital natives but they have difficulty in using information and producing content,” explained Alexandre Nilo Fonseca, who created the labs when he was chief marketing officer for Controlinveste (now Global Media Group), which owns the newspapers.  “The purpose of the Media Lab is to provide young audiences with a perspective on how newspapers are made in the 21st century and the relevance of news and information toda,” he said in his WAN-IFRA World Young Reader Prize entry. [Video 00:03:16]

The two labs attract about 1000 students ages 10 to 18 each week and also provide workshops for retirees and other older people.

“Our media group understands how communication technologies transform society, how they impact our understanding of ourselves, our communities and our diverse cultures,” Foncesca. “This makes medial literacy an essential life skill for the 21st century and a logical social responsibility activity for us.” (For a very thorough description of the media lab’s family actions, see the Evens Foundation report Media Literacy in Europe: Inspiring Ways to Involve Parents.)

In Argentina, the emphasis is on both young and fun. Since 2001, Groupo Clarin** has funded a newspaper section of the Museo de Los Ninos [Children's Museum] in Buenos Aires. The interactive exhibit familiarizes children with journalism while they play. Students can write their own piece of news, pretend to be a sports announcer as well as work on the cartoon and comics section. Annual attendance is more than 450 000. 

Argentina also originated an idea for giving secondary students a chance to try journalism that federated the city's eight competing news publishers in the process. The competition called for teams of teenagers to write in-depth stories about issues affecting their cohorts. The result was far from fluff: drugs, alcoholism, poverty, education and solidarity. The eight editors served as judges and were then assigned one of the eight winning stories to feature. All were printed on the same Sunday, sending sales soaring for all the titles. [VIdeo 00:01:00]

Such an immersion does not have to be elaborate to have value and can even be determinedly print based. For example, Play Bac Presse** produces three subscription dailies, several print and digital weeklies and video content for three narrowly defined age groups. Parisian children ages 6-9 and 10-14 can create a printed 4-page newspaper during three-hour, €25 Euro workshops at the company's headquarters. It's an early and highly memorable introduction to newsgathering. Similarly, the Guardian in the U.K. runs a free two-hour make-a-newspaper workshop once a year for families as part of the work of its News and Media Education Centre.

In fact, print is unexpectedly holding its ground in news production workshops. When the organizers of the annual contest by three major publishers (Politiken, Jyllands Posten and Ekstra Bladet) to create a news product around a theme in Denmark offered both a print and digital option for the final product, 80 percent of all the entrants chose to do newspapers rather than online news sites.

"It's a curious trend, as one might think newspaper production would be outdated with youngsters in general," said the organizer, Louise Abilgaard Grøn Abilgaard. They surveyed participants to find out why and found that:

1. Pupils were already so much on-line that still another digital experience did not attract;

2. The perception that changes cannot be made after a hard deadline (print vs. on-line) actually inspired them;

3. Producing an in-hand printed product that could be distributed in local areas and brought home to parents, grandparents, etc., mattered more relative to an on-line product.

Aslak Gottlieb manages a separate contest for the rest of Denmark's news publishers and has found a similar pattern, with some variations. "While print is still surprisingly popular in a digital world, I think it’s the teacher's decision rather than the students to do print in our contest," he said. ""They probably put their educational perspective first. They exactly how to run a project on print and what the students gain from it. We do know they want to do more in digital as in their evaluations we actually hear a demand for manuals and training courses on how to produce news stories online in class."

Similarly, when Polska Press** in Poland stopped printing school newspapers that used its  online editing and production application, usage of the system to create print editions did not decrease. "They still find it a useful tool," said Aleksandra Kowleska, a specialist in the Marketing Department.

A journalistic experience can also be international at a relatively low cost. So far, Globe Reporters  has put 1200 children into the role of managing editors as they direct the work of a professional journalist in a foreign country or at an important international gathering, such as the global COP21 conference on climate change. Each school class pays 500 Euros to participate. The students choose the topics, gather background information, create questions and produce the final result after the on-site journalist does the reporting (video, print, photos, etc.).

"The plus is that teachers do what they do best while the journalists do what they do best, with the students using quality material to explore how to create an engaging news package," says Alain Devalpo, journalist and co-founder of Globe Reporters.

A journalistic experience for young people can teach news staff about the media habits of young audiences. News publishers can also link existing behavior by young people to a journalistic experience, learning themselves about a social medium in the process. For example, Kompas Daily** in Indonesia used Instagram to do a photo contest named #TamboraChallenge that morphed into a reporting assignment. Five winners attended an event marking the anniversary of the major Tambora volcano's earthquake to present live reporting on behalf of the newspaper´s official Instagram account.

"We learn a lot about both Instagram use and Indonesian young people through such actions," said editor Kompas Muda Budi Suwarna. Promotion manager Tarrence Palar added that they also learn many things about the what and the why of making information more clear with such a visual approach. “We combined the Instagram element with our staging for the #Tambora Challenge (photo audition, video mini-series, live report)," she said. [Video 00:02:55 and covers all of the actions that combined to make Kompas Daily WAN-IFRA's 2014 World Young Reader News Publisher of the Year.]


It is doubtful that there is an Indian news publisher who is not doing something in news literacy and other engagement actions for hundreds or thousands of young people. India is a clear world leader, for example, in public service actions that energize masses of young people.  It is also a highly competitive market that sees joint actions among publishers very, very rarely, if at all. However so many companies are doing so much that WAN-IFRA awarded India its second World Young Reader Country of the Year in 2013 (the only other such award went to Brazil in 2005) based on the individual entries from eight titles.Documenting all of India’s individual news publishers actions that give young people a chance to try journalism would be impossible.

But here is just a small sampling from some titles that have won individual WAN-IFRA World Young Reader Prizes (with links to English-language elements):

The Times of India’s School Edition was revamped in 2009 and now reports a print circulation of 900,000 and a multifaceted interactive online edition. It offers several  journalism activities including a School Reporter and NIE Star Correspondent program. Also, students can attend a mock press conference as part of NIE Newsmakers Meet. Principals can be Guest Editors with a student editorial board and meet newsworthy figures. A Summer Training program for students offers exposure to print, TV, Radio and the chance to design of an ‘Ideal Newspaper.’

TTIS - The Telegraph in Schools is the stand-alone youth edition for the Anandabazar Group (or ABP) that has operated for many years. It runs a number of projects, including the Tiger Reporter Programme in which 600 student reporters  schools learn how to do newsgathering then produce most of the content for the 16-page publication. One historic initiative sent student reporters to Pakistan, a country with which India has long had a tense political relationship.

The Hindu’s school edition, established in 2012, has a circulation of 250,000 among 12- to 16-year-olds weekdays at 2,300 schools. It set up a Guest Editor program in 2014 asked young people to say what they’d do if they were editor for a day. Four winners from the “flood” of applicants worked on the edition for India’s Children’s Day. For 2017, The Hindu planed to host six editors who have written about local news or interviewed an important person

For 20 years, Malayala Manorama has run a contest encouraging magazine journalism among university students. Editors attend a workshop aimed to help them do better in the following year’s competition. It also organizes periodic workshops for students interested in journalism. A fundamental focus concentrates on helping young people especially who have moved outside region to be able to read and write in the region’s language, Malayalam, which most of whom only speak.

Three Dainik Bhaskar group titles joined for Junior Editor III – The Next Generation 2050, a competition that ended with more than 300,000 children creating 12-page newspapers based on a template in four languages. One assignment was to imagine the world in 2050, especially if vehicles no longer used gasoline and if a magical soap could wash off corruption. Top three winners emerging from the roughly 90,000 entries that make the first cut receive prizes such as computer equipment. About 1000 other winners get “goodie bags” worth about $100.

Dainik Jagran has a “Be the Young Editor” contest challenging students in 28 cities to create a newspaper based partly on a formatted model. From nearly 200,000 entries, 84 winners get training in real newsrooms. A recent edition called for creating  a newspaper of the future.  For 2016 International Day of the Child, girls in 8 cities were guest editors who discussed with editorial teams as they learned how to make their own edition. “The newspaper that day spoke about an issue often dusted under the carpet,” says Basant Rathore, Senior Vice President.


News publishers in severl countries have done a version of WAN-IFRA's .  My Dream Interview Festival. The initiative was first done nationally in Hungary and Chile by two of WAN-IFRA's Centers of Youth Engagement Excellence. In the WAN-IFRA international version, teachers in eight other countries used a special guide for teaching about journalistic interviews to help groups of teenagers create interview questions for someone inspiring to them.

A partner local newspaper chose the best set of questions, helped make the interview happen and published the result. Few students chose to talk to the film and music stars or athletes they were assumed to admire. Instead, they tended toward activists as the people about whom they wanted to learn more. In Bolivia, all of the 12 main news publishers participated, despite their considerable differences in editorial line. You can download our teacher guides in Español and English here. We ask your contact details to be able to send updates about both new resources and common actions.

MAKE-THE-NEWS PLATFORMS - More details about some of the initiatives mentioned above and others are in the 2016 WAN-IFRA How They Do It dossier, "Digital make-the-news platforms and contests. The dossier was supported by France's largest news publisher, Ouest France,  and includes examples from Belgium, Denmark, France, The Netherlands, Poland, the United Kingdom and South Africa. You can downoad the dossier HERE. We ask for your contact details to be able to send updates about both new hresources and common actions.


This report was specifically commissioned to concentrate on initiatives outside the United States, but we would be shirking our task if we did not give you at least one solid U.S. example.

THE TAMPA BAY TIMES - This decidely old-school activity began in 1988 won a 2016 WAN-IFRA World Young Reader Prize for enduring excellence. Why? Because it's still a great idea. 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 in schools during which students study concepts including the basics of economics, and learn manage a budget, apply for a job and work as a team. Since the beginning, the programme has been 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. [Video 00:01:11]

DON'T FORGET NEWS[PAPERS] IN EDUCATION - Finally, please take note that News[papers] in Education (NIE) managers of publisher-educator partnerships on the local or state or even national level in the United States have included journalistic experiences for students as part of their work for decades and continue to innovate in this area. 



Aralynn McMane's picture

Aralynn McMane


2017-03-13 11:16

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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 ...