Shine news

How to channel personality into writing your stories

Hello everyone,

Invariably students know what they want to write about – and it’s fiercely important to them. Yet, when it comes to a school newspaper or magazine, what may be less clear is how they write about it.

Some advice from a contemporary might be helpful. George Thornicroft, who won a Shine School Media Award for his writing back in 2017, recently told me how writing a truly personal story changed his life. I thought it would be great for students to read what he said, chiefly that expressing yourself with real honesty can be the key to truly captivating writing.

George was just 13 when he won, and he goes on to explain in emotional detail how much this meant to him;

While I always had an interest in writing, I never felt as though it was anything worth pursuing. Journalism as an occupation had been a consideration for a while, but I thought I was too young to write anything serious. My experience had extended little further than creative writing in my spare time and in school.

However, exploring journalistic writing on a whim allowed me to develop a completely new style of writing, which eventually flourished into a deep passion I have maintained and cultivated for nearly half my life.

What began as reporting on events in and around school led to me writing more honestly and openly than I ever thought possible. Writing from the heart and exploring myself through the medium of journalism allowed me to not only better my abilities as an author but also understand myself to a point I hadn’t before.

This experience was topped off with winning my first Shine Award for the most honest and vulnerable article I have ever written to this day, at the modest age of 13. Some of the relationships made while working with Shine since then will, hopefully, last a lifetime, and I couldn’t be more grateful for every incredible opportunity they have provided me.

Winning my award and making these relationships inevitably led to my passion becoming stronger and more fervent than ever. I continue to write journalistically to this day, nearly six years after winning my award and nine years since trying journalistic writing for the first time.

To this day, I still reap the benefits of writing from my heart.

I just think that’s amazing: please pass this on to your students, I hope it’s helpful.

As ever, to register for the Shine School Media Awards 2024, just drop us a line at

Til next time,

Chair of Shine