Shine news

Amplify your student journo voices 📢

Hi everyone,

This week, we have a report from Liz Hunt, our Shine Awards Committee Member at Large. Liz’s day job is Senior Associate Editor at the Daily Mail and she’s supported Shine as a judge for many years now. This past week, Liz went to Rochester to speak to the students at Strood Academy.

Why was she there? Liz explains all…

On Awards Day 2023, I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah Wilkinson-Crute, an Associate Assistant Principal from Strood Academy, a co-educational secondary school and sixth form in Rochester, Kent, with 1,300 students.

Last month, I accepted her invitation to meet with The Newspaper Club at Strood – Sarah’s initiative after starting a magazine at her previous school – to discuss their online publication, The Perspective; how they might improve it; and how to get more students involved on the editorial team or as contributors.

Sarah said many of them thought it was a bit ‘geeky’ to be associated with the school magazine! I was very impressed with the Club – Florence, Daisy, Amelia, Matthew, and Thomas – who are an enthusiastic team, with lots of ideas, and a quirky take on issues of the day.

I also addressed the Sixth Form to talk about my career path, opportunities in the media industry and, more generally, ‘life lessons’.

I did my best to disabuse them of the idea a school newspaper or magazine is in any way ‘geeky’. Instead, it is a brilliant opportunity for creativity and brainstorming on current affairs – news/politics/entertainment/leisure/arts etc – and on school life.

It can be a fantastic showcase for writers, artists, photographers, designers while those who are more technical in their interests can explore new ways to engage readers via podcasts, interactive web sites and the like. School clubs – drama, books, all sports, music etc – should play a vital role in the development of such a publication, too. These are voices that should be heard!

I told students about Shine and how award nominees get to enjoy a fabulous day at the historic Stationers’ Hall in the City of London, with workshops, a slap-up lunch, and a chance to meet high-flyers in the media industry from a huge range of disciplines.

I thoroughly enjoyed my day at Strood and, in the interests of fairness, would like to share some tips I gave The Newspaper Club as they begin their journey to – hopefully – Shine success in 2024!

It’s fantastic to hear about the trip to Strood and I am pleased to say that Liz’s top tips will be following in the new year when we’re back for the Spring Term.

If your students have completed an Autumn Term edition of a newspaper, podcast or magazine by the end of term, drop us a line. Register by emailing, then our entry form will be launching early in the new year.

It just remains for me to wish everyone a fantastic Christmas break.

Until next time,

Chair of Shine