Community and environment

We actively encourage Shine editorial teams to think about ways in which their project can positively affect the people in their local community.

This goes hand in hand with a consideration of your environment, whether it be right in front of you at school and home or on a wider, even global scale.


Get to know your community

Shine’s community and environmental award recognises a consistent, potentially thematic effort that combines your school project with an awareness of issues and news directly affecting the local population.

Our guidelines for this award state;

  • ‘Judges will be asking whether clear objectives were set at the outset, if community initiatives have been promoted within your publication and whether in doing so, the local population has been positively affected and overall editorial content enhanced.’

… so if this award is one you’re keen to enter, it’s worth keeping an eye on your project from an overall editorial perspective.

If the finished project has a number of pieces with a core focus, or discovers more about your community and highlights issues important to them in an investigative way this would form the basis of a very strong entry.

What's going on locally?

  • Setting out your objectives in terms of engaging with the local community at the beginning of your project could be a great way of defining it.
  • Equally it could be that as you progress with writing pieces for the project, issues become apparent you previously weren’t aware of. That’s a natural part of journalism and a ‘crusade’ that helps people and came about because of your journalism is an excellent outcome.
  • Ask questions! Find out what’s going on! Get inspired! One way of finding out about big issues on your doorstep is to ask people who are really in touch with the local population.
  • We’d suggest requesting interviews with people who have something interesting to say. How about local politicians, religious leaders or business owners? All or any of these people could form a very sound starting point for your work. And best of all: they usually like the attention!

Make a difference to your environment

Past winners of this award have approached it in two ways.

The first is to write articles themed around environmental issues. For instance, following the impact of the TV series Blue Planet II, many newspapers adopted a cause of using less plastic in our everyday lives. You might consider environmental issues at your school and how your project can raise awareness of these. This would be particularly relevant for a website or podcast where there was no final printed product.

The second route you might consider is to examine the life-cycle of your project and the materials used in its production. Shine’s award guidelines explain;

  • ‘Central to this award is an understanding of environmental issues, for instance addressing the production of the publication and the life-cycle of newspapers and magazines. These issues could be addressed by ‘walking the walk’ yourselves – with the choice of paper stock or ensuring it can be conveniently recycled.’

“While filming Blue Planet II the crews found plastic in every ocean. Even in the most remote locations.

“Once in the ocean, plastic breaks down into tiny fragments, micro plastics. Along with all industrial chemicals which have drained into the ocean these form a potentially toxic soup.

“Industrial pollution and the discarding of plastic waste must be tackled for the sake of all life in the ocean.

“Surely we have a responsibility to care for our planet. The future of humanity and indeed all life on earth, now depends on us.”

David Attenborough, Blue Planet II

Paper and the environment:
about the ‘Two Sides’ campaign

Misconceptions about print and paper are a major issue for the printing industry. All too often organisations use messages such as; ‘Go Green – Go Paperless’ and ‘Do your bit for the environment and choose e-billing’.

Such messages can be unsubstantiated, misleading and can have a lasting effect on consumer perceptions of print and paper.

In fact, the print and paper industry is a world leader when it comes to sustainably-managed materials, renewable energy and recycling.


Some of the key facts about paper's sustainability are:

  • Between 2005 and 2015, European forests grew by an area the size of Switzerland – that’s 1,500 football pitches every day!
  • Europe recycles 72% of its paper
  • 84% of the industry’s raw materials come from Europe
  • Between 2005 and 2013, the CO2 emissions of the European pulp and paper industry were reduced by 22%
  • 56% of the industry’s total primary annual energy consumption is biomass-based