When I first started Catherine Smyth Media in 2009, my USP was creating newspapers in schools.
Since then I have developed the programme to produce papers in a day, over a week, to cover a term or half term. Now I have gone back to the future – by that I mean that my school newspapers started at Northern Primary School where I produced 17 editions of Northern News and from January I was back in school producing issue18.
Northern News set the template for my USP and led to the development of my Paper in a Day programme.
But not just at Northern, I have also started working with a group of 10 pupils at Britannia Primary School to produce their termly paper Britannia Buzz.
In December I helped students from Coal Clough Academy to write their first edition of Coal Clough News, the head was so impressed he commissioned me to produce a paper every half-term. And in June I will again be producing Fearns Chat.
So it seems school newspapers are bucking the trend of the local, regional and national press.
As well as helping junior journalists to write their own newspapers, I have also done a lot of writing myself since December.
I wrote and produced the latest edition of M3 News for Rawtenstall-based charity the M3 Project that works with homeless 16-25 year olds. A further story was also written on the incredible marathon run by project manager Alan Dorrington and friends and that appeared in the Rossendale Free Press and Lancashire Telegraph.
Veterans In Communities hit the headlines with an amazing story about a rescue puppy helping a veteran cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Again the story was in the Free Press and Lancs Tele. The charity’s link up with Pioneer Community Health Studio was also publicised. VIC News for January was produced.
At Whitworth Community High School students raised money for Rossendale Hospice whereas at Haslingden High School the girls football team and the basketball team dominated the sports pages and an army veteran who is now a student mentor explained his change of career.
Fearns Community Sports College has also been in the press with pupils from Northern making pizza in school, marking Holocaust Memorial Day and a trip for GCSE artists to the Tate Liverpool.
Ad hoc jobs included Metis HR’s Alison Driver becoming a fellow chartered and one of the top 10 per cent of HR professionals in the country. Another national accolade was awarded to deaf tutor Ayesha Gavin of Ayesha Communications.
In the middle of all this I wrote the first in a series of articles for Hyndburn Business Awards – presentation night is in June.
I also spent 12 hours on an ambulance shift and a feature on the day and the pressures faced at the Royal Blackburn Hospital will be appearing in The Big Issue In The North soon.
The Sophie Lancaster Story continues to sell well and I will be presenting Sylvia with a cheque from the profits of the book.
If you have a story to tell – then give me a bell.